A New Way To Pay

By EssentialsMAG tech contributor DAVID HUGHES

Every once in a while, a new piece of technology comes along that not only redefines its category, but changes the way we live our lives. Just over 10 years ago, this happened with the launch of the iPhone. You can argue that it wasn’t the first smartphone, but there can be no arguing that - in 2007, at least - it was the best and years ahead of its time.

Today, on the back of the iPhone’s success, smartphones are so ubiquitous that the term smartphone is almost redundant; they are simply phones, but ironically are being used less and less to make calls. One relatively new function of these devices is to make payments; an option that is being increasingly adopted by retailers of all sizes. You may have seen the Apple Pay or Google Pay signs on shop windows and next to the tills.

So what does this mean?

Put simply, the latest phones allow you to pay for things without having to root out your debit or credit card. In practice, it works in a similar way to Contactless but, unlike Contactless, it can utilise the security features on your phone to confirm the payment.

Apple Google Pay.jpg

The setup process is fairly straightforward on both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google). With the latter, you will need to download the Google Pay app, but with iOS, the functionality is built-in; just go to Settings, then Wallet and Apple Pay. If you search the Internet for “Set up Apple Pay” or “Set up Google Pay”, you will find full instructions. The app will guide you through the process of adding your card details, and cards from most of the major banks and building societies in the UK will work. On some Android devices, you will also need to switch on NFC. NFC stands for near-field communication: this is what the device uses to wirelessly connect to the card reader.

When you are paying for something in a shop that accepts Apple Pay or Google Pay, you simply hold your phone close to the card reader as you would a contactless card. What you need to do next will vary depending on the phone you have. For example: the newest iPhones will use Face ID to confirm your payment. This is just a quick introduction to using your phone to make payments. You will definitely face some anxiety the first time you try it, but when you trust that it works, it really is a very useful feature that is only likely to become more commonplace over the next few years.

EssentialsMAG tech contributor is David Hughes a freelance web developer
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Victoria Lee