If there has been anything that this COVID-19 pandemic has made us adept in terms of behavior we never really got used to before it happened, it would be to do things online, even in financial transactions. Yes, in the past, almost all of us have already done our fair share of Amazon retail therapy, and thus online payment. But the lockdowns, the push for people to stay at home, for businesses to operate online, at the general disdain of people to touch bills and coins that may be carriers of the virus has made contactless payment options more of the new norm rather than being a nice-to-have option.
As such, the world’s largest companies have taken on this “new norm” behavior to their advantage. And how!
Have you tried Samsung Pay?
If you don’t have an iPhone, then chances are you might have a Samsung. What’s great about having a Samsung phone is that you can also use it to pay for things. With Samsung Pay, your phone can act as a card to pay for your purchases in many stores. The only thing you need to do is tap your Samsung phone or watch to pay, so there’s no need to even use your credit or debit card. Samsung Pay is also one of the earlier adaptors of the contactless payment option, so it still works in older terminals that use MST (magnetic secure transmission) technology, where Apple Pay and Google Pay don’t. However, this feature is also in the process of being phased out in the US. It’s also packed with security measures to protect gadget owners in cases of loss and theft.
One inconveniece with Samsung Pay on the watch is that if you take the watch off your wrist, you must enter your PIN to start using it again. This makes sense as a security protection: You wouldn’t want someone to be able to take the watch off your wrist and start paying without that protection. Another security measure (also used by Apple Pay and others) is the use of tokenized codes rather than your actual credit card number. The service is protected by Samsung Knox, which monitors the devices for suspicious behavior.
What About Apple Pay?
Like most products released by Steve Job’s behemoth, Apple Pay relies on exclusivity and the loyalty of its millions of users who have already gotten used to turning to the company for just about anything – apps, movies, music, books, etc. Apple Pay allows you to buy anything by putting your iPhone over an NFC terminal at any store. The app for Apple Pay also allows you to transfer funds to other Apple Pay users and maintain funds with its Apple Cash feature. Apple Pay users are also entitled to get an Apple (credit) Card. With people encouraged to use contactless payment systems due to the pandemic, Apple Pay is indeed gaining traction as one of the most, if not the most contactless payment systems to date.
Most reviewers still see loyalty card integration as a major opportunity for improvement, and it appears that there is some inconsistency with how Apple Pay interacts with different terminals—e.g., tip interfaces and “confirm payment” prompts. There have also been reports of users who use Bank of America cards being double-charged through Apple Pay, but it appears that this glitch has been corrected. Additionally, there have been complaints of poor performance when making in-app purchases.
And Google Pay?
Google has through the years, toyed with payment apps. The first product is released, Google Wallet, allowed for payment using NFC technology, something which Apple Pay then adapted. The feature was then taken off Google Wallet and put into Android Pay. Then there was Pay With Google and Hands Free, both of which were experimental before finally, Google Pay emerged. All this confusion can finally be put to rest as Google Pay has also gained popularity by utilizing some of the company’s strengths such as email.
In iOS or Android, you can use Google Pay within Gmail to send money to any email address — even a non-Google one. While services vary according to country, you can also request or accept money using Gmail. Whether you’re paying or accepting payment, your information is encrypted and you can easily revoke access to your Google account on any device.
And Finally, Fitbit Pay
And who would have thought that the fitness gadget would also enter the arena of providing contactless payment solutions? But then it makes sense as Fitbit Pat allows users to pay using their Fitbit smartwatch or fitness tracker to any contactless payment terminals. Like Apple Pay, Fitbit Pay also uses NFC technology. If you are looking into using Fitbit Pay, look for payment terminals with the wave symbol. Those are contactless payment centers that accept NFC debit and credit cards, as well as your Fitbit smartwatches and trackers.
Rolling out support for a contactless payment system takes a long time, and Fitbit Pay is still a relatively new service. Not all of the most popular banks are compatible with the payment service, so there will always be room for improvement. However, Fitbit has done a good job at adding support for new banks and bringing the service to more countries over the past few years.
Exploring the best option for contactless payment is a great thing to do these times when the pandemic is still not showing too much slowing down despite the vaccines. But you know what can be stressful? Discovering that your files have gone missing from your laptop. But not to worry, because we can help.