How to Use Mobile Pay This Holiday Season

Mobile pay apps give people the ability to pay for groceries, restaurant visits and pretty much anything else you can think of right from the convenience of their phones. Major players like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay allow you to use their apps to make purchases at a variety of retailers, and even individual retailers like Dunkin’ Donuts and Starbucks have their own mobile apps that make paying for your morning coffee fix a snap.

Here’s what you need to know to use mobile payment technology wisely.

It’s Easy to Use

Virtually all mobile payment systems today work in the same fashion. You enter your preferred credit or debit card into the app prior to using it for the first time. After that, you use the app to pay for a purchase either by having the cashier scan it or by tapping your phone on the payment pad. With most mobile pay systems, you can approve the purchase with just your thumbprint.

It’s Safe

Most mobile payment apps generate a unique bar code for each transaction. They don’t send your credit or debit card information through cyberspace, which reduces some of the risk that comes with using your card online. In fact, Apple Pay doesn’t store your card information at all — it’s linked to your device via a special code. Your phone sends a one-time token to the retailer that would be useless to a hacker.

It’s Protected

The normal protections that apply to credit and debit card transactions should apply in the case of fraud with a mobile pay transaction. There’s always the danger of fraud or having a system hacked. It pays to know what protections your credit or debit card offers in the event of fraud. Additionally, there are no uniform protections on mobile payment fraud, and the credit and debit card protections might not apply if your bank account is linked directly to the app as the source of payment.

It’s Growing

At some point in the near future, mobile payment apps might replace the need to use or even carry other forms of payment such as cards, cash or checks. That day isn’t here yet, though. While mobile pay continues to grow, most consumers still prefer traditional payment methods, according to Business Insider. Additionally, while Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are widely accepted, not all retailers can or will accept these payment apps. In some cases, the technology isn’t in place, or the merchant wants to develop their own mobile apps.

It’s Evolving

Mobile app technology is still new and evolving. Mobile apps offer many new and innovative opportunities to manage the ways you pay for everyday items. Undoubtedly there will be even more exciting features as we move forward. The necessity of carrying large amounts of cash or using checks is largely gone. But as with any new technology, we should use common sense to protect devices and personal information.

Smartphone payments will surely continue to grow and can make shopping safer and more convenient. But remember that it pays to be smart when shopping this holiday season, so make a point to understand how these mobile pay apps really work and all the things that they can do for you before you get started.

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