7 Popular Mobile Payment Apps

Pay on the go, without fiddling with cash or checks

220,000 Stores Start Accepting Apple Pay SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 20: A worker demonstrates Apple Pay inside a mobile kiosk sponsored by Visa and Wells Fargo to demonstrate the new Apple Pay mobile payment system on October 20, 2014 in San Francisco City. Apple's Apple Pay mobile payment system launched today at select banks and retail outlets.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While payment systems like cash and credit and debit cards still dominate the payment landscape, the latest trend among retailers is mobile payment. Several credit-card processing apps for smartphones and tablets make processing sales easier and more streamlined, but they're also useful for shoppers as a cheaper method of payment. Some of these apps even allow for fast, secure person-to-person transfers.

Let's explore seven of the most popular mobile payment apps for a variety of mobile devices.

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Apple Pay
image copyright Apple Inc.

Apple's iOS platform integrates with Apple Pay, a service that stores credit cards, debit cards, coupons and online passes. Add a card to Apple Pay to tap-to-pay at millions of retail locations internationally. The service is secured with a PIN or with Apple's TouchID or FaceID biometric systems.

Apple Pay is only available on iOS. More »

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Screenshot of the Android Google Pay app
Google Pay App.

Google Wallet requires an NFC chip, which is now being incorporated into many of the latest mobile devices. Setting up Google Pay system is fairly simple. Create a PIN and enter your card information into the app. Next, tap the back of the phone against the terminal supplied for payment. If you lose your phone, use the app’s built-in cloud connection to shut down your Google Pay account.

Google Pay is tightly integrated into the Android ecosystem. More »

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Samsung Pay is used by people all over the U.S. to make payments on in-store transactions.

Samsung Pay supports the enrollment of credit, debit, gift and membership cards to facilitate in-person, in-app or online payments. The app also features special promotions.

Samsung Pay is only available on Samsung's line of Android devices. More »

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PayPal apps for iPhone and Android
PayPal App for iPhone and Android. PayPal, an eBay Company

Making a mobile payment with PayPal is easy and convenient. All you need to do is link your PayPal account with your phone, set up a PIN and then complete checkout at a related payment terminal. PayPal has several security measures in place to prevent theft.

In addition to the mobile app, PayPal supports a Web interface as well as payment processing and free instant transfers to friends and family. More »

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Woman using Venmo on smartphone
Photo: iStock

Venmo is a pay-by-text service, which enables people to pay one another using its SMS-based approach.

This system puts a maximum payment limit of $299 per week until your identity is verified; then the weekly limit rises to $2,999. Single transactions are limited to $2,000, and there is a limit of 30 transactions per day. Payees get a text message about the amount they have been sent, and they will have to register themselves in order to retrieve the sent funds. More »

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The Starbucks app lets you load cash to pay at the register at most Starbucks retail locations. Starbucks 

One of the most popular mobile-payment apps is not considered a banking app by most experts. The Starbucks app boasts more users in 2018 than Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or Google Pay.

Use the Starbucks app to order online, but you can also connect a debit or credit card to your app and pay at the Starbucks register with the app.  More »

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Courtesy of Zelle

Unlike other services that offer a dedicated mobile app, Zelle works directly with banks to support person-to-person micropayments. If your bank participates, you can use the bank's native app to transfer money to friends and family using Zelle's infrastructure. More »