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It’s time to set up mobile pay on your phone. Here’s how

If you’re one of those people still inserting or swiping your credit card instead of using your phone, here’s what you need to know about the most popular mobile pay apps. 
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Within five years, 10% of all credit card transaction could be through Apple Pay. If you haven’t set up mobile pay on your phone, what are you waiting for?

Ever since I potty trained my youngest child and ditched the diaper bag, my goal has been to whittle down what I have to carry with me everywhere I go. Over the years, I downsized slowly from a big bag to a smaller purse to a wallet to what I carry now in my back pocket — a phone.

But I have not yet reached the minimalistic dream of carrying only my phone. At this point, I still need a phone case with a slot in the back for a couple credit cards and my driver’s license (still waiting for my state to transition to digital driver’s licenses), and a pocket for lip gloss.

I do carry two credit cards in case I come upon a retailer that doesn’t accept mobile pay, which is rare. But taking 30 minutes to input credit cards and loyalty cards into your mobile wallet is well worth your time and you can leave your traditional wallet home. Less is more, right?

Apple Pay is the method of payment for about 5% of all card transactions, according to Quartz. Recent data from research firm Bernstein says Apple Pay could account for 10% of card payments within five years.

A survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta found that between 2015 and 2018, more and more people adopted mobile pay apps, with the share increasing from 40% to 60%.

Mobile payment is even more secure than paying with a physical card. Each type of mobile wallet uses encryption and a tokenization technology that’s similar to chip cards. Tokenization creates a unique set of numbers for each transaction so your actual card number is never used. Plus many phones add another level of security by requiring either a facial ID, iris scan or fingerprint.

So if you’re one of those people still inserting or swiping your credit card instead of using your phone, here’s what you need to know about the most popular mobile pay apps.

How to set up Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay

Apple Pay is for Apple devices only and users can add debit or credit cards to make purchases online, in stores or apps. The app can also hold student IDs, boarding passes and rewards cards. Apple Pay is available in 41 countries worldwide, and works at many transit systems’ terminals across the globe. It uses NFC or near-field communication, sending information over radio waves.

  1. To start using Apply Pay open the Wallet app (pre-installed on iPhone) and tap the plus sign.
  2. Add a new card’s information and tap Next. Your bank or card issuer will verify the information and decide whether you can use the card with Apple Pay.
  3. After the card issuers verify the card, tap Next and start using it.
  4. When it’s time to pay at a merchant, double-click the side button, glance at the phone screen and then hold it near the payment terminal. Or for phones with fingerprint sensors, just place your thumb on the sensor and hold it near the payment terminal.

The two most popular mobile pay apps for Android users are Samsung Pay or Google Pay.

Google Pay also works with NFC and allows credit and debit cards, membership cards and even gift cards. To use Google Pay, simply unlock your phone, hold it near the payment terminal and it’s done. Unlike Apple and Samsung Pay, it doesn’t require the additional security measure of fingerprint, iris scan or facial ID. It does allow you to link your PayPal account as a payment method if you prefer.

  1. To start using Google Pay open the app, add a card by taking a photo of it, the card issuer verifies the information and you’re ready to go.

Samsung Pay is an app that is available on late model devices and works nearly everywhere. It can use NFC or MST (magnetic secure transmission) to send payment information to a terminal. MST generates a magnetic signal (similar to the strip on the back of many cards) to process payment. Because Samsung Pay can transmit payment data more than one way, it may work some places where Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t. Samsung Pay allows credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards and PayPal and works with several transit systems.

  1. To start using Samsung Pay open the app, tap Get Started and set up a PIN.
  2. Next tap Menu>Cards>Add card>Add credit/debit card.
  3. Now when you pay at a store, open the app, tap Pay and select the card you want to use.
  4. Verify with your PIN, iris scan or fingerprint if you’ve added that security measure, then hold the phone up to the payment terminal to complete your transaction.

With these three popular, secure options to pay at millions of merchants worldwide, there are few reasons to carry around a physical wallet or purse. Now if I can just get a phone manufacturer to embed a lip gloss compartment, my dream of carrying my phone around and only my phone will come true.