Contactless phone payment: the top 3 options of 2020

Interested in contactless phone payment? We break down the top 3 best mobile payment apps, taking a look at set-up, acceptability and security.

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The number of contactless payments has been growing since the launch of contactless in 2007. And with our ever-increasing dependence on mobile phones, it’s no surprise that contactless phone payments are on the up too.

If the world of contactless on your phone is new to you, we’re here to help. Here is a round-up of the top 3 options for contactless phone payments in 2020.

Google Pay

Once upon a time, there was Android Pay for in-app purchases and Google Wallet in-store transactions. But in 2018, the internet giant that is Google merged the two to create Google Pay.

You will find Google Pay preloaded onto any post-2015 Android devices with Near Field Communication (NFC) or Host Card Emulation (HCE) capabilities. These are basically the bits of technology that enable a phone to make a contactless payment.

Google Pay is secure and easy to use. Each card you load into your Google Pay app will be given a virtual account number, so your card’s full details will never be shared with the vendor.

In addition to that, Google Pay requires you to have a screen lock set up. What type of screen lock this is will depend on what device you have. The screen lock means that if your phone is lost or stolen, the app can’t be used because it can’t be authenticated.

Google Pay is widely accepted at any terminal that has contactless payment capabilities.

As it is compatible with a number of different Android devices, Google Pay is one of the most widely used mobile contactless payment apps here in the UK.

For more on how to set up Google Pay on your phone, check out our ultimate guide.

Apple Pay

If you have an iPhone 6 or above, then you will have Apple Pay at your fingertips. Apple’s contactless phone payment option comes pre-installed on your device, so there is no need to download an additional app.

Apple Pay is a secure and convenient mobile payment option. When you add a card to the Wallet app on your iPhone, its details are encrypted and stored only on your device. Apple also replaces your card details with a device account number, so your card details will never be shared with the vendor when making a transaction.

Apple also has very secure identity verification. In order to use Apple Pay, you will need to use the Touch ID sensor or Face ID verification. This extra layer of security will prevent the app from being used if your phone is lost or stolen.

Apple Pay is widely accepted. It can be used at any terminal that accepts contactless payments.

The main limitation with Apple Pay is that it is only available on Apple devices – so not much use to you if you are set up with an Android device.

For more on how to set up Apple Pay on your phone, check out our ultimate guide.

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay is Samsung’s answer to Apple Pay and Google Pay. This contactless phone payment option is exclusive to Samsung devices. It can be found on a Samsung Galaxy S6 or any of the newer models after that.

Samsung Pay uses tokenisation and biometric technology to keep you protected. Your card details will never be stored or shared with the vendor. Once again, your card details will be replaced with a device account number. And every time you make a payment, a token is used instead of your actual debit or credit card number.

It also has secure identity verification. Each payment must be authorised by a fingerprint or iris scan, making it near impossible for thieves to use the app.

Like the other options, Samsung Pay can also be used on any terminal that displays the contactless symbol.

One thing that makes it slightly different from Google Pay and Android Pay is that Samsung Pay also works with older magnetic stripe terminals, as it features Magnetic Secure Transmission (MTC) technology. However, this is less key here in the UK, as most of the old magstripe system has been replaced with contactless card readers.

For more on how to set up Samsung Pay on your phone, check out our ultimate guide.

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