Using contactless mobile payments and apps
What are contactless mobile payments?
Contactless payments are financial transactions that happen digitally via your mobile. They’re usually accessed through a contactless payment app, known as a mobile wallet. This stores your credit and debit card details, which can be accessed by your smartphone.
How to set up and use contactless payments on your mobile
Androids and iPhones have slightly different set-up processes.
- If you have an Android phone, you will need to set up Google Pay.
- If you have an iPhone, you will need to set up Apple Pay.
- You can check to see if your phone can use contactless payments; it must have a special SIM or a sticker/tag attached to the back. If you’re in doubt, contact your mobile provider. Some older devices may not be able to support contactless payments. Payments are based on near-field communications (NFC) technology, so you need to physically be within range of the payment reader (for example, a card machine) in order for it to work.
Once your device is set up and you’ve installed the app, it essentially lets you use your device as you could a credit or debit card.
Is there a charge for using contactless mobile payments?
There’s typically no charge for using the contactless mobile payment system itself. However, you may be subject to other charges, like for mobile data or currency conversion charges.
How many times a day can I use contactless mobile payments?
There’s no limit to the number of times you can make contactless mobile payments in a day. There is, however, a limit to the amount you can spend using contactless in a day, which is typically £30. If there’s an item you want to pay for which costs over £30, you may still be able to use contactless, but you’ll need approval from the retailer and your bank.
You could find that your bank may ask for you to enter your PIN to ensure it’s you every now and then. This is just to make sure that it’s you using your card, and not anyone else.
Can I use contactless phone payments on public transport?
Yes – especially if you’re travelling around London. TFL’s system means you can pay with your smartphone for your journey. Make sure you have enough battery on your phone for the entire journey; if your phone dies and you can’t use it to tap out, you may be charged the maximum fare.
You can also use contactless payments on Manchester’s tram network.
Bear in mind that if you have a non-UK bank card, your payment may not work or you may be charged overseas transaction fees. It’s best to check with your bank before you start using contactless phone payments in the UK.
The benefits of using contactless mobile payments
The benefits to paying online with mobile include:
- Convenience, especially if you don’t want to carry your wallet around you’ve left it at home
- It’s faster than counting out cash and change
- You don’t have to worry about carrying physical cash
- It’s secure. Your card’s details aren’t stored on your phone but in the digital cloud, so thieves can’t access your details even if they’ve got access to your phone.
Contactless mobile phone payments and fraud
As with any other digital transactions, mobile payments come with risks as well. The following issues are rare, but they can happen:
- The potential for fraud, through identity theft on contactless devices
- Paying for things accidentally – for example, you may authorise a payment by mistake before checking it
If you decide to use contactless mobile payments, find out more about safeguarding yourself against contactless fraud to help you use contactless mobile payments more safely and securely.
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