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