Mobile Wallet – What’s all the Hype?

The future is here with new wireless payment options

Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay — what’s the big deal anyway? By now you’ve probably heard your financial institution talk about these products, but are you still wondering how they are truly “transforming the way you pay?”

When you look at them closely, you may find that they’re really not that scary.

Go Card Free

One reason mobile wallet solutions are getting a lot of attention is because consumers no longer have to dig their cards out of their purses or wallets to make payments. Once you upload your card information into one of the mobile payment options, it’s stored, and you can use it anywhere mobile payments are accepted (which for Samsung Pay, is everywhere a card is accepted). This is the step that makes most people hesitate. We assume downloading the app and uploading our cards will be time consuming and confusing. However, that’s actually not the case. In most cases, you can simply take a photo of your card, finish filling in a few bits of information and voila, you’re done. Most compatible phones come with the app already loaded on it, so you often don’t even need to download anything. Plus, you can upload multiple cards, so if you want to switch between your debit and credit cards, you can do so with ease.

But is it Secure?

Let’s be honest. The thought of making payments with your smartphone doesn’t seem so…uh, smart. But the truth is, paying with your smartphone is actually more secure than paying with your plastic card. With traditional cards, when you swipe to make a payment, the card information is transmitted to the payment processor via the magnetic strip. What this means is that all of your card information is available if someone hijacks the payment processor’s system. Sounds scary, right? This is how counterfeit cards are often created. While some institutions like Advia Credit Union offer EMV Chip enabled cards to help combat this, not all payment terminals have been updated to accept the chip. Furthermore, it still requires you to present a physical card to make a payment.

With mobile wallet options, instead of swiping your card, you hold it close to the payment terminal. Your phone sends a signal to the payment terminal that you’re making a payment and launches your card. Your card number is never sent with your payment information. Instead, your device creates an electronic ID which represents your payment information. In order to process the payment, you either have to use Touch ID, which recognizes your finger print, or you need to type in your PIN.  This type of authentication is another layer of security, ensuring that no one can use your mobile device to make payments if your phone is ever lost or stolen. Plus, you can easily shut your phone down online and disable all payment methods.

How it Works

According to, “Near-field Communications (NFC) is a short-range high frequency wireless communication technology commonly used in contactless cards, mobile phones and passive RFID.” To simplify, NFC is the technology that allows your smart device to talk to contactless payment terminals.  When you’re ready to make a payment and hold your device near the payment reader, the technology in your phone talks back and forth to the technology in the contactless payment terminal. It literally only takes seconds to process a transaction. For larger transactions, you may still need to sign. If you use Samsung Pay, you actually don’t even need a terminal that supports contactless payments. Instead, you can simply hold you phone over where you would normally swipe a card and your payment will process. Learn more about each of the mobile wallet options and how they work.

What are the differences?

To be honest, Android Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung pay are very similar and the biggest difference is the device you access them on. However, there are a couple of differences to note:

  • Samsung Pay doesn’t require NFC enabled contactless reader to make in-store purchases, making it the mobile wallet option most widely accepted
  • Android Pay and Apple Pay allow you to make purchases within compatible apps, such as Etsy; this is not possible with Samsung Pay. To make a payment in-app, instead of signing into PayPal or putting in your card information, you simply authenticate with Touch ID

Where Can I Use It?

The list of who accepts mobile payments is growing every day. However, you can find a list online for Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. Plus, if you’re using Apple Pay or Android Pay, you can even use them online within many apps.

Visit our website for additional information.

Contact us at 844.ADVIA.CU (844.238.4228). Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) up to $250,000 per account. 

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