Skip to Content
Smartphones & gadgets

How to pay for things using your smartphone

Have you heard that some people want to get rid of cash? Yes, money.

Some economists say people lose billions of dollars due to theft and by misplacing dollar bills. Heck, some banks don’t accept cash deposits anymore due to money-laundering concerns.

Meantime, cybersecurity experts say digital money can be safer than cash transactions. Hackers can steal your bank account information, credit cards and tax returns. It’s much more difficult for them to break through encryption to steal digital funds.

Plus, it’s more convenient to pay digitally than with cash or cards. You’re probably already paying digitally, if you use your bank’s online bill pay service, for example.

Maybe you send your grown kids money using PayPal so they can pay their rent. Or maybe you use it to send your grandkids money for their birthdays.

Now, the next generation of digital payments is right in your hand. You can use your Android smartphone or iPhone to digitally pay for everything from groceries, restaurant bills, your dry cleaning and a lot more.

Note: Keep reading for three ways to use your smartphone to make payments. But, first, let’s talk about security.


Welcome to the future! Could you have imagined a decade or two ago that you’d be paying bills with your smartphone or your smartwatch?

Of course not. That sounds way too futuristic and dangerous. After all, we’ve all lost our smartphones. And they’re so easy for criminals to steal.

But, whether you’re an Android user or you have an Apple iPhone, digital payments are quite safe. First, criminals can’t get into your smartphone if you have it protected with a passcode or biometric code, such as your fingerprint.

In fact, most digital payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay won’t let you or anyone else make a payment on a smartphone that doesn’t have a passcode or fingerprint protection.

Second, most smartphone payment systems don’t use your credit card or debit card information to make payments. Instead, after you input that information on your phone, these payment systems use a unique, encrypted code for each payment.

In other words, unlike a credit card that criminals can swipe over and over, your encrypted digital payment code can be used only once. So, there are at least two levels of security when you pay with your smartphone.

Android smartphone payments

You can use Android Pay at millions of stores and restaurants, from Trader Joe’s to Starbucks, to Panera Bread and many others. You pay with an Android smartphone (and iPhone) at the store’s contactless payment system.

They use Near-Field Communication, which is comparable to a radio transmission. Once you unlock your smartphone with a passcode or fingerprint, you tap your phone to the payment system. Instead of swiping a card, you tap your phone to it.

Your smartphone transmits an encrypted code, which hides your stored credit card information, to the payment system. You’ll usually see a green light when the payment is successful.

You’ll need to make sure you have the Android Pay app on your smartphone. Your smartphone may have come pre-installed with it. If not, you can get Android Pay for free in the Google Play Store. 

Bonus: If you lose your phone, you can remotely lock it with Android Device Manager. You can also use that to change your passcode.

For a full walkthrough, watch this video:

Samsung Pay

You don’t have to have a Samsung phone to use Samsung Pay. It works on most Android smartphones, and it’s very similar to Android Pay.

First, download the free Samsung Pay app from the Google Play Store. Then, input your payment card information.

To use Samsung Pay, you can tap your phone on contactless payment systems. If you have a very new Samsung phone, you can also use Samsung Pay at older point-of-sale (POS) systems, where you swipe your credit cards.

For a full walkthrough, watch this video:

Apple smartphone payments

Apple Pay is the granddaddy of smartphone payment systems. It’s been around since 2014 and has really set the precedent for Android Pay and Samsung Pay.

You do need to have an Apple product, such as an iPhone or Apple Watch to use it. Many Apple products have Apple Pay pre-installed.

Psst! Did you know Apple just unveiled its new 2017 product lineup? Click here for 10 products you’re going to love (especially, No. 7)!

You input your payment card information and then use it to make payments at contactless payment systems at millions of locations, from grocery stores to gas stations and restaurants.

Like other Apple products, Apple Pay is well known for being secure. Here’s how Apple explains security with Apple Pay:

“When you make a purchase, Apple Pay uses a device-specific number and unique transaction code. So your card number is never stored on your device or our servers, and when you pay, your card numbers are never shared by Apple with merchants.”

For a full walkthrough, watch this video:

More stories you can’t miss:

The one way to know your iPad or iPhone has a virus

Why there’s a chip in your new credit and debit cards

How to tell if your smartphone has been hacked


Ask me your digital question!

Navigating the digital world can be intimidating and sometimes downright daunting. Let me help! Reach out today to ask your digital question. You might even be on my show!

Ask Me