Pay with your smartphone: using apps to leave your wallet behind

When smartphones first came on the scene, many of us looked at them as simply an upgraded phone.

Times have certainly changed, and now smartphones can do many things, including helping with your financial responsibilities. You probably know you can pay most bills using your smartphone, but the latest trends allow you to do a lot more than that.

Pay with your smartphone: using apps to leave your wallet behind

Pay for day-to-day expenses

More and more retailers are now accepting payment through smartphone apps.

  • These apps allow you to easily make a payment.
  • Some apps make a payment when you tap your phone to a merchant's device. One app allows you to make a payment without even having your phone on you; users can enter in their mobile numbers on a keypad to pay. Yet another app allows you to make a payment via text message.

Most people who hear about these convenient apps have concerns about security, but the technology behind them is actually quite safe. Like swiping your debit or credit card at a store, using your phone to make payments is surprisingly secure.

To learn where you can use your smartphone to make payments, either search online to see what vendors cooperate with what apps, or install the app of your choice and see what it offers.

Even pay for dinner

Aside from these generalized payment apps that allow you to use your smartphone at many locations, many eateries -- especially coffee shops and fast food vendors -- now have their own specialized apps. Some of these apps will allow you to place your order on your phone, eliminating the risk of being misheard and allowing you to see your order on-screen before submitting it. Most of these apps also accept payment for your food and drink directly through your phone.

Besides being convenient for dinners, these payment apps also reduce costs for merchants by increasing the speed of taking orders and decreasing the fees associated with traditional credit card use. Some apps and merchants even pass along some of the savings to the customer, meaning you get better expediency, better accuracy of your orders, and sometimes also a break in the price -- all for using an app.

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