With the recent release of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, there’s a whole new hype around mobile payment – specifically, Apple Pay. For those who have just upgraded to Apple’s new flagship, congratulations (!) – you’ve just opened up a whole new avenue for paying for your day-to-day necessities. But what about those folks who aren’t yet eligible for an upgrade, or who aren’t into Apple devices? Fear not! There are options out there for you as well.
First, let’s take a look at Apple’s new offering – Apple Pay. While this feature isn’t available quite yet, (coming in October) it does pose a couple of unique features. With the built-in Touch ID on iPhone 5s and newer, you’ll be able to register your credit/debit cards and make purchases online by selecting Apple Pay at checkout and scan your finger. Quick and simple. The major revelation that came to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus is near field communication (NFC). With the new Apple Devices equipped with NFC, users can quickly make purchases at any store that accepts tap and pay payments. Apple’s major selling point? No need to wake up the phone or open an app – just one tap and you’re done.
When it comes to NFC, Apple is a little bit behind the times. Many Android devices are equipped with NFC, enabling various sharing capabilities, and the ability to change settings in the phone by tapping a programmed NFC tag. In addition to this, you have the ability to utilize tap and pay at supporting locations. Google Wallet will store your credit/debit cards and have them ready when you open the app to use tap and pay. Additional functionality with Google Wallet allows you to store you loyalty cards (i.e. PetSmart, Gamestop, Regal, etc.) and gift cards. Both can be used from the app by bringing up bar codes to be scanned. To top it off, Google Wallet gives you the ability transfer money to other users.
So, say you’re not into Apple, and Google Wallet just isn’t your thing, why not support a mobile payment startup? Formerly ISIS Mobile Wallet, Soft Card is another mobile payment app available for Android users. Similar to Google Wallet and Apple Pay, Soft Card allows you to connect credit cards and use them for tap and pay. Since it’s a startup, there are limited approved credit cards available to connect, but to solve this issue, Soft Card offers American Express Serve. Users can add money to their American Express Serve account, which then serves as, sort of, a budget inside the Soft Card app. Once you’ve used up your balance, you’ll need to add more money to your account.
By now, you’re sure to know about PayPal. But you may not know that PayPal also offers an app that allows you to connect your credit/debit cards and even link your bank accounts to utilize tap and pay. Of course the PayPal app allows you to pay for things the traditional PayPal way, but it’s very similar to the Google Wallet app in that it presents offers that can be automatically applied when you pay.
So, while Apple Pay may be the latest and greatest, there are still many options out there, and those listed above are only the tip of the iceberg. Bottom line, if you don’t own an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus, don’t worry. You can get your mobile payment on too.
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