We do just about everything on our mobile devices these days. Whether that's looking something up online, sharing photos on social media, texting family and friends, getting directions or playing mobile games, it only makes sense that we would ditch credit cards and cash and instead use mobile payment apps to make purchases.
Thanks to the technology, you could misplace your wallet and still be able to buy things, dine at restaurants, and even get a ride home from Uber at establishments that have integrated mobile payment options.
Known as online wallets, services such as Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay allow users to store their credit card info, shipping addresses, login info and passwords all in one place. PayPal, an online payment system, uses electronic fund transfers that require users to have a linked PayPal bank account. PayPal also recently acquired Paydiant, a mobile wallet developer, to take on the other mobile wallet vendors.
To set up an online wallet, the user registers for the service, and receives an SMS with a personal identification number, or PIN, a numeric password. Once they authenticate their account, the user can then enter their credit card information (in some cases via the smartphone camera) to make payments. The following times they use their virtual wallet to make a payment, the user just has to enter their PIN to validate the purchase.
While PayPal has been a popular payment option online for some time now, the fact that Apple Pay is available on all iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices continues to make the platform a front-runner. It has the most retailers supporting it, even though competitors like Android Pay continue to beef up their list of companies that accept this form of payment. Samsung will also enter the scene in the near future with the launch of Samsung Pay.
It may be confusing the figure out which retailers support each mobile payment option, so we broke it down in this mobile payment guide that reveals what companies accept Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and PayPal.
Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that uses near field communication (NFC) to send personal payment information to the point-of-sale terminal. It launched in the U.S. last year.
Apple Pay uses its NFC chips to securely make in-store purchases, and online and in-app purchases are made with one touch via Apple Touch ID on the iPhone 5, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, iPad Air 2, and iPad Mini 3. Apple Watch users can use Apple Pay by double clicking to pay when on the go.
Apple Pay continues to add numerous banks, credit unions, retailers and apps to its list of partners that offer the payment option.
Apple has deals with the three major credit and debit cards providers, Visa, MasterCard and American Express, and will add Discover credit cards to its list this fall.
The list of participating banks and credit unions include: American Express, Bank of America, Barclaycard, BB&T, BBVA Compass, BMO Harris Bank, Cabela's Club, Capital One, Chase, Citi, Commerce Bank, Fifth Third Bank, First National Bank, First Premier Bank, Huntington, KeyBank, M&T Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, PENFED Credit Union, PNC, Regions, SunTrust, TCF Banks, TD Bank, USAA, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo and Western Union-—just to name a few.
To see the full list of banks that support Apple Pay, click here.
Apple Pay also is an accepted form of payment at hundreds of thousands of restaurants, hotels, grocery stores, etc. Major retailers like Macy's, Bloomingdales, Whole Foods, Walgreens, Duane Reade, Babies-R-Us, Toys-R-Us, Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sephora, Sports Authority, Panera Bread, McDonald's, Wegmans, Game Stop, American Eagle Outfitters, Nike, Staples, OfficeMax, Subway, and Petco are some of the most noted stores that accept this mobile payment platform.
While Target already supports Apple Pay for online purchases, the company could be the next major retailer added to Apple's list for in-store purchases, after Target's CEO Brain Cornell told Re/code back in May that he has been in talks with Tim Cook.
Home Depot would become Apple Pay's largest partner if rumors are true that the retailer wants to begin offering the mobile payment option in over 2,000 of its stores.
According to its website, establishments that will soon accept Apple Pay include: Forever 21, Dunkin' Donuts, Johnny Rockets, JCPenny, L.L. Bean, T-Mobile, Urban Outfitters, Trader Joe's and White Castle.
Apple Pay is also an option at over 200,000 kiosks, vending machines, laundry machines and parking meters, and apps like Airbnb, Groupon, Kickstarter, Ticketmaster, Starbucks and Uber.
Like Apple Pay, its competitor Android Pay (rebranded from Google Wallet) is an NFC-based mobile payment system and wallet platform that could be used to check out at participating stores, apps and websites. To make an in-store purchase via Android Pay, the customer just unlocks their phone, and places it near the terminal.
Android Pay allows users to securely save their credit card info, keep track of purchases, and lock lost or stolen cards by using the Android Device Manager. Unlike Google Wallet, Google's Android Pay does not require using a separate app and entering a PIN.
Android Pay users can add credit and debit cards from the following providers to the platform: American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa, Bank of America, Navy Federal Credit Union, PNC, Regions, USAA, and U.S. Bank.
According to its website, Android Pay will soon be accepted at hundreds of stores. These include many of the same retailers that also accept Apple Pay, including: GameStop, Macy's, Bloomingdales, Best Buy, American Eagle Outfitters, Aeropostale, Office Depot, Jamba Juice, Panera Bread, Petco, jetBlue, McDonald's, Toys-R-Us, Walgreens, Sports Authority, Whole Foods, Coca-Cola and Pepsi.
While Android Pay is accepted in apps like those from Dunkin' Donuts and Uber just like Apple Pay, there are a few companies that are not on Apple's list. These include Chipotle and Domino's.
Samsung Pay was first expected to launch this summer, but its debut has since been delayed, with rumors swirling that it will be released with the launch of the Galaxy Note 5 within the next month or so. The just-launched Samsung Pay for TV is now an option in 32 countries for purchases on some Samsung 2014 and 2015 smart TVs.
Like Apple and Android Pay, Samsung Pay will also use NFC for in-store purchases, but will also have Magnetic Secure Transmission that will allow this payment option to work at most registers even if they don't support NFC payments.
Upon using the app for the first time, users register a card by placing the card face up to the phone's camera to read the numbers—a feature also available on Apple Pay. Users will authenticate purchase with the fingerprint sensor and tap the device to the point-of-sale terminal.
Samsung partnered with MasterCard and Visa, and is currently working on adding American Express, Bank of America, Chase, Citi and U.S. Bank.
The South Korean company says that Samsung Pay has the potential of being accepted at about 30 million merchant locations.
Samsung launched the beta testing of its platform last month in South Korea among 1,000 users.
Mobile device users can also leave their wallets behind and opt to use PayPal as their mobile payment option. Consumers can download the PayPal app to track their balance, check in and order ahead and pay at restaurants, purchase items, or send funds to friends.
PayPal allows users to add card information via their smartphone camera. The users must always confirm purchases by logging into their PayPal account using their username and password or PayPal Mobile PIN.
According to its website, there are 1,063 stores that currently support PayPal payments. These include Addias, American Eagle Outfitters, Apple Store, Best Buy, eBay, Hotwire, Overstock, The Limited, Target.com, United Airlines, Walmart and Zales, to name a few. Home Depot also began supporting PayPal in-stores and online, and Subway just announced it will accept PayPal as a form of payment later this year for in-store purchases.
PayPal also will soon be accepted as a form of payment by Boscov's and Cannon.