Gone are the days when credit cards were the only means of making payments at the supermarket checkout. With the advent of mobile payment services like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and Samsung Wallet, customers can now make contactless payments using their smartphones. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover compatible banks, the differences between these services, and how NFC-enabled payments work.

Nowadays, there are several methods of making in-store payments, ranging from traditional cash and credit cards to the aging check system. The latest addition to this list is mobile payments. With a dedicated app, users can simply place their phone on the card terminal to make contactless payments.

How does mobile payment work?

Mobile payments are made by placing a smartphone on a credit card terminal. Thanks to Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, which allows data transmission over short distances, and a dedicated app on the device, the phone functions like a contactless credit card.

Once set up with either an iPhone or an Android smartphone, users can typically make payments by bringing their phone close to the payment terminal, selecting the bank card to use, and verifying their identity using biometrics (Face ID, fingerprint reader, etc.). This solution works even when the smartphone is not connected to any mobile or Wi-Fi network.

Which stores are compatible?

All retailers that offer contactless payment-compatible terminals for credit cards also support mobile payments. The NFC chip in your credit card functions in the same way as the one in your smartphone or smartwatch. To ensure terminal compatibility, check for instructions on the device during the transaction. If it prompts you to “present a card” rather than “insert” it, the terminal accepts contactless payments.

nfc paiement mobile Best Phone Payment Platforms

Free and Unlimited

Unlike contactless payments with a credit card, which are limited to $50 per transaction for cards issued since 2020, there is no limit for mobile payments. Users can make payments of $50, $100, $200, or more using their smartphones.

In general, using contactless payment services does not incur any additional fees. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the rates charged by your bank, even if no banks in our comparison charge additional fees for this type of usage.

Contactless Payments with Google Wallet

Previously known as Google Pay, Google Wallet is a universal payment solution offered by Google on Android devices. It has been available in France since December 2018. To function, Google requires an Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer smartphone with NFC compatibility. Unfortunately, it has the least number of compatible banks in France, but it is the best-integrated solution on Android for both smartphones and compatible smartwatches. It is important to note that this solution is not limited to bank cards, but also includes transport, loyalty, and gift cards.

Google Wallet (Google Pay)

Google Wallet Security

Google Wallet stores banking details in encrypted and secure special data centers. The smartphone keeps a virtual identifier created from these details, corresponding to the registered bank card. This identifier is transmitted to the payment terminal without the merchant having access to the original banking information.

Biometric identification is only required for transactions over 50 USD.

Contactless Payments with Samsung Wallet

Samsung also offers its own contactless payment solution on Android, competing with Google Wallet. It accepts other types of cards and documents, especially identification documents like passports. This service is only compatible with smartphones from the Galaxy S7, Note 8, and A5 2017 series onwards and was previously called Samsung Pay.

It uses two different technologies: NFC, like its competitors, and MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission). The latter mimics the magnetic stripe on bank cards, making it compatible with all payment terminals, especially in the United States, where this payment method is widespread. However, Samsung chose not to use MST technology in France.

Samsung Wallet (Google Play)

Samsung Wallet Security

The Samsung Wallet app stores an identifier corresponding to the registered bank card. This identifier is transmitted to the payment terminal, ensuring that the card data is never transmitted or stored in the app or on Samsung servers.

Payment requires biometric identification using an iris scanner or fingerprint reader. Facial recognition, considered less secure, is not compatible with Samsung Wallet.

Garmin Pay

garmin pay logo Best Phone Payment Platforms

More confidential than other third-party mobile payment platforms, Garmin has also launched its brand, Garmin Pay, specifically for Garmin watch enthusiasts. This allows users to pay with their connected watch or Garmin activity tracker without needing to take out their wallet or phone.

Similar to Samsung Pay integrated with Samsung Wallet, payment information is never stored on the watch or tracker. As with other platforms, users simply need to add a compatible payment card to the Garmin Connect Mobile app, then select the payment card to use for a purchase.

Users can also track their payment history and manage their payment cards directly through the app.

Apple Pay

Présentation d'Apple Pay

The only contactless payment service compatible with the iPhone is Apple Pay. It’s also an exclusive service for smartphones as Apple Pay is not compatible with Android. Launched in France in 2016, Apple Pay quickly gained ground and is compatible with a large number of banking institutions.

To use Apple Pay, you need to have an iPhone 6 or newer. It is also possible to pair an Apple Watch with your iPhone for easier in-store payments.

What security measures are in place for Apple Pay?

Apple stores an identifier corresponding to the bank card data in encrypted form on a secure chip within the device’s central processor. A unique second identifier is generated for each payment, ensuring that banking information is never transmitted to the merchant. No information is stored on Apple’s servers.

Authentication is done with Touch ID or Face ID before any transaction.