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What's your mobile payment service of choice?

Samsung Galaxy S9+ with Samsung Pay
Samsung Galaxy S9+ with Samsung Pay (Image credit: Android Central)

Mobile payments have been around for a long time now, but they still seem to be catching on slowly. It's still a guessing game figuring out which stores accept mobile payments and, at least around my area, getting out your phone to pay still seems to confuse store clerks more often than not.

Even with all of that in mind, mobile payments are the epitome of convenience. If you forget your wallet at home or simply have too many credit cards and membership cards to physically carry around, no worries — as long as you've programmed them into your phone, all of your cards are still at your disposal. The only thing left to figure out is which mobile payment service to use.

Of course, it's not as simple as just picking one from the long list on the Play Store; your options will vary greatly depending on what phone you carry — or more specifically, who makes it. There are universal options like Google Pay, which works on any Android phone that supports NFC, but if you're on the Galaxy S9 or Galaxy Note 8, you also have the option of using Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay's biggest advantage over the competition is its ability to emulate physical card strips using additional hardware inside newer Galaxy phones. This means that Samsung Pay can work on payment terminals that don't even accept mobile payments, with some exceptions like terminals that require you to insert your card, rather than swiping or using your chip (a good example being gas stations).

Some other Android manufacturers are getting into the mobile payment game, as well. LG launched LG Pay in South Korea last year, and will reportedly be expanding the service to the U.S. within the coming months. Like Samsung, LG is utilizing MST technology to make LG Pay compatible with older terminals.

Every mobile payment service works mostly the same, but MST is a huge differentiator for Samsung and LG.

If you have an iPhone, Apple Pay is your only option. Unfortunately, Apple rarely if ever offers promotions for gift cards like Samsung, but on the bright side, the Wallet app holds other important information like boarding passes in addition to your credit cards and gift cards.

Some stores have even created their own mobile payment systems, most notably Walmart with its Walmart Pay service that simply uses a QR code at checkout to charge your associated card.

I've been using Google Pay off and on since it was still called Google Wallet — I even still have my debit card! — but overall I've come to use Samsung Pay more often than any other mobile payment service. Maybe the stores here in Indianapolis are just slow to evolve and embrace newer technologies, but terminals that accept Apple or Google Pay are still few and far between, so it's nice having a fallback with MST. I don't always use Samsung phones though, so maybe I'll take a look at LG Pay once it arrives stateside.

But nevermind me — what about you? What payment service do you use, assuming you use one at all? And if not, why aren't you paying for things with your phone? Sound off in the comments below!

Hayato was a product reviewer and video editor for Android Central.

123 Comments
  • Samsung Pay is light-years ahead of the competition. I use it every day on my Gear S3 Frontier.
  • How is it light years ahead? Genuinely curious...
  • For one, it can be used for NFC and magnetic payments.
  • I don't count MST personally, it's archaic technology.
  • And still a huge advantage over NFC in the US. I use the MST way more times than I do chip and use it faster than the chip with it's delayed transaction. That right there is a big plus.
  • I'm not in the US though, I'm British. Our payment terminals aren't stuck in the 90s... And what does the chip have to do with this? This is NFC Vs MST, not phone Vs card.
  • Well isn't that good for you. Some of us are and some of us use MST still. And the chip has to do with this because not all terminals in the US use NFC, therefore, one would think that a chipped card would have to be used, hence the reason MST on Samsung is much more feasible.
  • Usually it's us over here sounding pompous ...
  • It's not pompous if it's true :)
  • Then again, half the US is larger than the entire EU so it takes more time and we have to keep you safe from the boogeyman.
  • You are the Boogeyman
  • Size of the country isn't the problem. The European countries knew years again that these terminals were not secure and went to the chip. Over here in the states, they knew as well, but waited for it to become an issue, which it is.
  • I tend to think of it as mature technology, not archaic. It's everywhere and works.
  • That's probably because you're American. For most of us this technology was phased out over a decade ago, I haven't even bothered signing my last few debit/credit cards because it's literally pointless to do so. I still have a VCR, that doesn't mean it's current, it just means I'm a little odd... I also still use a single incandescent lightbulb!
  • We have a lot more to phase out than you do.
  • Lol, so just now, America is starting to relaize the signature on a card is meaningless.
  • An article posted today about this. Pins replaced signing a cc slip as well, just not over here, unless you are using debit. America is slooow to adopt new technologies, partially because our infrastructures are crap. https://www.theverge.com/2018/4/12/17225554/credit-card-signatures-us-en...
  • Same here, I haven't bothered to sign both my credit or debit card as they both have NFC and a chip so MST is now a fallback in the case of both NFC and chip and pin failing here in the UK and probably the rest of Europe as well.
  • Only one incandescent light bulb? I still have 5 of them, one in the living room, one in the downstairs toilet, one on the landing, on in the hallway and one in the computer room. I hate LEd bulbs.
  • How is MST "archaic"? Maybe the mag stripe reader could be classified as that, but MST is pretty modern and uses tokenization just like NFC payment methods.
  • Ah, you see, you've actually got me there because I misspoke. MST IS indeed a relatively modern and sophisticated system. However, it exists solely to interface with the archaic payment system in place in the US. You knew what I meant.
  • Thank God we're not all British...
  • Yet us Brits have adopted NFC and Chip and Pin a hell of a lot faster than you Yanks.
  • Just a shame our British government keeps following your government like a puppy dog. time to get rid of May and Trump, they can go and live on an island together.
  • Count it or not, it's still a very relevant technology since tons of retailers are still using the old card readers without NFC and Samsung Pay is the only payment method that can use MST (until LG launches their platform in the U.S.)
  • It's not though. As I've said above it's an entirely irrelevant technology to me and almost everyone I know.
  • I'm British but I can understand why MST still makes a difference. You do realise that the majority of people using Samsung Pay exist in the US, right? Just because you don't need that feature, doesn't mean it's entirely useless. It's demographic is somewhere else, and that happens to not be where we live.
  • So you go around and ask others what they think of MST? It's not irrelevant. The US uses it and since we support the entire world, what we say is relevant is relevant.
  • So only the US get to say what is relevant in the whole world, that's a very arrogant view to have.
  • Makes no difference what you count. It's still used and viable.
  • How many countries still use magnetic payments? Oh I forgot, the U.S.A still does, the one country that boasts they do it bigger and better and yet still use the old magnetic strip.
  • Purdy much. I subdue my inner excited dweeb and don't seek out with people when they are surprised to see me play with my watch. Inside I'm screaming, "I know right? This s**t is crazy!"
  • Samsung Pay and nothing else. Easiest to set up and easier to use along with my gift/reward cards.
  • So is Google Pay, so what's your point?
  • sorry, I still keep my CC in my REAL wallet.
  • Good for you.
  • Ditto here (or cash). Quick and easy. Phone stays in my pocket.
  • I keep those in my wallet too. They pretty much stay there, because I don't have to take them out. I can use Samsung Pay with my GS3 Frontier watch.
  • I keep my real CC in my wallet too. All wallet systems assign you a new CC number for phone payment. The merchant never knows what your real CC number is.
  • Apple Pay because of ease of use for boarding passes. Samsung Pay for everything else.
  • So you carry two phones? Plenty of other apps like the airline apps or TripCase, etc, will show your boarding passes
  • None. I have no use case for it. I need to carry my wallet with me everywhere because my driver's license is in there. Plus plastic cards don't need batteries.
  • This.
    I get the usefulness but I'm good.
  • Depends what card you have...
  • So you don't use a phone? It's not like you have to charge your payment method along with your phone.
  • You mean separately; if the phone is charged, then so is the payment method. But you know to each their own. I like the security of spoofed transaction tokens. I never forget my phone because it is my communication, music and navigation device. I can also ask Device Manager to locate and wipe my phone. Can't do that with my physical wallet and cards. But that's just how I see it.
  • In Australia, if you are driving you need to have your driving license with you. My main payment method is fitbit pay. Nearly every terminal has NFC, some places (small businesses only) have a minimum card payment so you still need cash. On my phone I use Samsung pay, it is handy as it has store cards as well. For internet payments I try to use paypal to protect my card details, not sure if you can use Android pay online and get it to protect your card details. Is that an option?
  • You can, as well as adding Store cards to it as well.
  • my drivers license stays in the car
  • I still carry a wallet with my drivers license and card in it but the card stays in the wallet and is only used where the retailer doesn't support contactless payments, which TBH is very few places here in the UK.
  • My bank is still not allowing this so I just look on from the sidelines.
  • Samsung Pay here, but it depends of the phone you own. The best in Samsung phones is Samsung Pay.
  • Samsung pay it literally works everywhere even on old systems use it on my s3 frontier and my s8+
  • Android pay never worked well for me and, if it dad, was more time consuming than using a card. Samsung Pay, on the other hand, is fast and easy. I've only had it fail once - otherwise, it adds convenience. I use it all the time.
  • Google pay, but I don't really use it much. I generally pay for stuff with cash In the material realm.
  • Going to be using Google Pay with much greater frequency since my debit card number was stolen recently, the virtual card numbers is a huge protection. I should have realized something was up when the Taco Bell employee in Ohio took my card over to the drive-thru window to do the payment. $400 transaction at Walmart not too far from there a few weeks later.
  • ouch thats crazy
  • Samsung Pay all day! Nothing even comes close.
  • I love Samsung pay, and you can try this code and get a $5 gift card after your first purchase: AC279F Hopefully this still works - worked for me on my S8 last year.
  • I tried android pay , but it's not any faster than using my AmEx..otherwise it's cash. Can not really give a lot of folks like car valets my phone or amex... It's also a habit.... I do things a traditional way just because I've been doing it for 40 years. I generally leave my phone in the car when I jump out for gas or a sandwich at a coffee shop(Wawa) My biggest issue when summer is here is pocketing phone, wallet and keys...A lone amex takes less space than anything in my pocket.
  • I find that Google Pay does the transaction much faster than using a card in a chip reader most of the time.
  • In the reader for sure but tapping the card is just as efficient as tapping the phone.
  • Yeah...most people are constantly worrying about car valets.
  • In the UK and use android pay but don't have a Samsung device so maybe why.
  • Samsung pay! By far the best mobile payment service ever. I make money and get free stuff just for using it.
  • So far it's been Samsung Pay for me. No reason to look at any of the others.
  • Samsung Pay FTW! Google Pay is nice, but not accepted everywhere yet. I'm in the DC area and quite a lot of adaptation thus far, but not enough to make me switch to Google Pay ...yet.
  • Google Pay is accepted ANYWHERE that you can pay via contactless which leaves out most of the US then!!!
  • Some of the idiotic comments I've gotten from business owners as to why they don't upgrade to chip even.
    They don't understand or care about security, they only care about that extra five seconds a chip card takes.
    One couple from India who own a local Chevron can't figure out why the US is so far behind.
  • Exactly, which is why I get it when people from the US say Samsung Pay is superior but here in the UK it makes no difference which one you use as MST isn't supported and the rewards scheme doesn't exist here either so therefore Samsung Pay in the UK is just a Google Pay clone.
  • Ever since I got my Samsung Gear S3 Frontier with Samsung Pay, I have not used my phone even once! Yes, there are a few terminals it doesn't work well with. And there are swipe devices out of reach from my arm. But I'm finding I use the watch 75% of the time. It's protected with virtual card numbers and easy to use. I just really wish Samsung would have put the MST technology in the latest Gear S3 Sport. I look forward to seeing the features in the S4. If the waterproofing and MST are included, I'll buy an S4 on day one.
  • Makes no difference in the UK.
    All work the same but maybe better rewards with some.
    I use the Barclays app. Never fails and very easy to switch between credit or debit cards.
  • I love when cashiers tell me Samsung Pay won't work on their terminal. The joke is on them. I think it's the best service out there!
  • I use Google Pay but not all the time. There are 2 reasons I don’t usually reach for my phone when I need to pay.
    #1 Not every store has the NFC payment terminals. So I first have to look for that NFC logo. But by the time I find it, I probably already have my wallet in hand. #2 For whatever reason, most of the stores require the cashier to finish ringing up all your items and then press a button at the register to enable the payment terminal. I don’t like standing there holding my phone to the terminal waiting for the cashier to press that button while making sure the phone stays awake. Maybe it’s not, but it just feels pretentious.
  • Samsung pay is by far the best mobile payment system. That's one of the many reasons I usually stick with Samsung's phones.
  • If you get the Gear S3 you don't have to stick with Samsung phones if you don't want.
  • Samsing Pay will not work on my Note 8 for some reason. Just loads and freezes and has been for months. Use Google Pay and it works flawlessly for me. Just wish it was like Apple Pay and would hold my boarding passes and fandango movie tickets.
  • Thus far I've only used the Starbucks app to pay.
  • Google Pay. I was an early adopter back when it was the original Google Wallet. I even got the Google Wallet card and used it all over the place before they killed it. I suppose if I had something like Samsung Pay I'd use that but I really am not into Samsung phones and I'm not about to be. More than happy with GP for now.
  • Yeah I had the Google Wallet Card as well.Also used the OG Google Wallet App been using it ever since
  • I use Google Pay from time to time, but that's it. I've never gotten Samsung Pay to work for me.
  • Google Pay works reliably for me and I have all my loyalty cards right there.
  • Google Pay. With my Paypal account linked to that as well. Never owned a Samsung phone and never owned a fruit phone either.
  • Google Pay, but I rarely make mobile payments other than using it for the vending machine at work. And I wish Google would bring back the Google Wallet/Pay MasterCard.
  • None. Don't use it. I haven't had any luck getting it to work so I have given up just my experience. Ymmv.
  • Samsung Pay without a doubt. No comparison in flexibility.
  • Google Pay the only one I use
  • I prefer Samsung pay on my Gear S3 Classic being that it's accepted almost everywhere. Unfortunately, their partner banks are not as broad as Google Pay, so some of my cards cannot be added. I generally alternate between Samsung and Google.
  • Samsung Pay, hands down in the US in real world brick and mortar settings because of MST technology. Missed it since I got rid of my S7Edge, glad to have it back with the S9 Plus. I use Apple Pay online most of the time.
  • That's just it and something most people leave out of their comments. Samsung Pay is the best IN THE US, outside the US it doesn't matter as Samsung Pay lacks MST and Rewards.
  • Google Pay for me. I have more cards stored in it than I do in my wallet.
  • Does anyone know exactly where on the S9 / S9+ the MST sensor is at? I've had some mixed results using Samsung Pay, and my suspicion is that it would work better if I knew exactly where to hold the phone.
  • I've run I to most of my issues when using it with terminals that have 2 read heads to allow users to swipe their card either way. I've normally held my phone off to the side and higher or lower, depending on where the read head that's pointed in that direction is positioned.
  • Google Pay. For the most part, in my area, the places that don't accept it also have the terminals in such a position that I need to hand over the card rather than being able to use my phone or plug in my card myself. Plus - my phone doesn't support Samsung Pay since it's not a Samsung...
  • RBC has me stuck with their app meanwhile they support Apple pay. So I only use Google pay for gift cards and store membership cards like 7-11 or gas stations
  • Google Pay. It doesn't get any easier that pressing only 1 button to wake your phone screen (well no buttons if you use raise to wake on a Pixel) and tapping against the terminal. Neither Samsung Pay or Apple Pay can match that ease of use.
    Plus it works in every store even the smallest convenience stores these days.
  • Was gonna say, I never wake my Pixel when making a payment. It's quicker than the chip reader too.
  • Samsung Pay for MST. Honestly, I can't count the number of times an NFC reader was glitching or was simply not available and I got MST to work instead. I have also lost track of the number of times a cashier will say, "Oh, we don't take Apple....BEEP....oh?" :) I would very much like a Pixel but don't fancy the idea of having to carry my debit card again (Target, Walmart, Lowe's and Home Depot do not have NFC terminals).
  • Maybe those stores that have NFC terminals out of action need more reliable terminals.
  • Samsung Pay. Been using it for 2.5 years. Works everywhere.
  • Samsung, Apple and soon LG. Friggin' great, if you happen to own/use one of their devices. I resent the idea of being restricted to a particular hardware supplier, especially these three since their devices are ripoff expensive. So I'll stick with Google Pay and my $300 NFC-equipped phone.
  • You missed 'soon to be' Huawei Pay too 😉
  • Americans will not use that, they are scared of Huawei.
  • That's the thing though Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, LG Pay and Huawei Pay are ONLY available on those manufacturers devices whereas Google Pay is device agnostic and works regardless of the manufacturer as long as it runs Android and has the necessary NFC hardware.
  • Samsung pay all the way, on my note 8 and my gear s3. Works everywhere and is so easy to use. Only place I don't is gas stations (dip reader) and where they have to swipe the card behind the counter). Literally they only place I use cash anymore is to get my shoes shined. Mst is oh so needed still here and so glad Samsung bought that company.. Was a great move. And yes I would repurpose my bixby button to open spay.
  • I am a Samsung Pay person due to the MST capability. However the big advantages of the "Pays" is the virtualized card number. Your real card number is never exposed. Plastic leaves you exposed.
  • Android Pay, mostly because I can use it across all my devices.
  • Google pay at this time because I don't have a Samsung phone but I do prefer Samsung pay and probably have used it more than google pay
  • Samsung Pay. Works with Mag Stripe readers not just NFC.
  • Only if you live in the US.
  • 1 credit card
    1 atm card
    cash. Works reliably anywhere I am in the world. I suppose if I stayed put I would look into it, but I am mobile. Kind of laughing about the speed arguments. Who cares if it saves me 30 seconds when that is the short pole in the whole transaction tent.
  • Use Google Pay herewith in the UK as everywhere has Contactless. Tried Samsung Pay bit it never worked so gave up
  • No they don't, every where that accepts cards uses contactless, because they are told they have to, but no everywhere takes cards.
    Example today i went into town into our local market, got some sausages and a nice pork pie, they do not take cards. I went into a local cafe for a coffee, no card there either, a coffee bar I went to a bit later on do take cards, but only if you spend over a certain amount. which is around two coffees Went to a pub last night, no card there. A barbers in town say cash only, most of the stalls in our local markets do not take cards. I went home by bus today from town, normally I walk, but I had a fair bit of shopping, no card, cash only./
    i take it all large stores will take cards, but a lot of small one won't. In the city I live in, it is difficult to go about without cash unless you are just going to use the big stores and what is the fun in that?
  • That's not quite true though is it, a fair few bus companies now support contactless and most shops do. It's only smaller shops and market stalls that don't now.
  • Google Pay for mine....I hope as more places move to NFC to start leaving my cards at home....for now they stay in my wallet/pocket
  • Google Pay.
  • The thing is that even though most of you think Samsung Pay is the best because of MST support, here in the UK Samsung Pay lacks MST support and no British banks support it as it's one of THE most insecure payment methods, so really it's no better than Google Pay.
  • A couple of days ago, I had to switch checkouts in my local Tesco because the guy in front of me was trying to pay in his Samsung phone. He was still there after I had paid for my shopping, presumably he had left his wallet at home and didn't have an alternative method of paying.
  • Would someone please send me a bloater paste sandwich? With a glop of clotted cream and blood pudding. EWWW !
  • I've used Google Pay from the beginning, but I enjoy and now use Samsung Pay full time. I usually don't even take cards with me anymore.
  • None of them, I did use Google pay at one point a few years ago, but only when i remembered and not that often. TBH it is more of a hassle, taking the phone out, unlocking it and getting it lined up on the terminal to work. Cash is much easier, just hand it over, job done. I do use my debit card now and again, but mainly cash.
  • With Google Pay all you do is wake the phone, no need to unlock unless the transaction is over £30 and lining up with the terminal isn't really a problem as the contactless part of the terminal is usually under the screen anyway.
  • Just enrolled with Google Pay on my Samsung S9 today. It is so annoying to have to lock/unlock my phone all the time.