How to use mobile contactless payments

Gone are the days of bulky wallets and heavy coin purses - the era of contactless payments is upon us, and cash is taking a back seat. While contactless debit and credit cards are commonplace, not everyone knows how to make contactless payments on their mobile phones.

Last updated: 30th Jun 2020 at 4:54pm

Contactless allows a quick and easy payment by simply hovering your mobile phone or wearable device over a payment terminal. Contactless is made possible through mobile payment apps. 


What is a mobile wallet?

When we talk about mobile contactless payments, we may sometimes use the term “mobile wallet”. And it’s exactly what it sounds like! Your smartphone is linked to your credit and debit cards, creating a virtual “wallet” which you can use to pay for purchases online and in-store using a contactless card reader with near field communication (NFC) technology.

So, how do you link your phone to your debit card? Most mobile payment apps will ask you to either enter your card details manually, or take a picture of it to upload the details to the system. Then, your bank might require you to verify that you’re the one pairing the card with the phone by sending you a text, an email, or calling you. Once they’re satisfied that nothing fraudulent is going on, your card will be set up in your phone and you’ll be ready to start using mobile payments!


Are mobile payments safe?

Mobile payments are just as secure as other types of contactless payments. Your card details are stored only on your phone, and they’re fully encrypted so no one can access your information. Neither your phone manufacturer nor the shop you’re purchasing from will get access to your card details!

What’s more, you can set up a PIN number or use your fingerprint (or facial recognition if you own a new iPhone) to use whenever you pay for something with your phone. This means that no one else can launch the mobile payment app - keeping your money safe even in the event of your phone being lost or stolen


Where can I use contactless?

You should be able to pay for purchases using your smartphone wherever “normal” (a.k.a card) contactless payments are available. However, there is a £45 limit per transaction - so if your total is above this amount, you’ll have to use the good old chip-and-PIN.

Mobile payments can also be used online. Instead of entering your card or PayPal details at checkout, your smartphone might ask you to simply authenticate your payment using your fingerprint or face. It’s that easy!


Does it matter what network I'm on?

No it doesn't at all! If you're on Asda Mobile for example, it doesnt' matter if you're a pay as you go customer or use a data bundle - you'll still be able to make mobile contactless payments, assuming your phone supports it.


Does my phone support mobile payments?

You should be able to set up and use a mobile wallet with most recent smartphones, as long as they’re NFC-enabled. Tom's Guide has put together a list of phones that support mobile payments. Here's a summary of the devices you can use (as of 10/10/2019):

Apple Pay: iPhone 11 Pro, iPhone 11, iPhone X, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, iPhone 6, 6s, 6 Plus and 6s Plus, iPhone SE.

Google Pay: All NFC-enabled Android phones running on Android K or higher.

Samsung Pay: Galaxy S10 5G, S10+, S10, S10e, Note10, Note10+, Note10+ 5G, S9, S9+, Note9, S8, S8+ and Note8, S7 and S7 edge, S6, S6 edge and S6 edge+**, A70, A50, A40, A20e, A8, A6, A3, A5 2017, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active, Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch 4G, Gear S3 & Gear Sport


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