Which is the best payment app

Mobile payment

Paying with the mobile phone should make life easier

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of February 6, 2020

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • With mobile payment, you use your mobile phone to pay at the checkout.
  • You need a special program (an app) on your mobile phone. This can either be the banking app of your bank or savings bank or a payment app from providers such as Apple or Google.
  • How you can use mobile payment exactly depends on which bank you have a current account with and which operating system (Apple or Android) your mobile phone is running on.
    • The merchants do not receive any card data if you pay with your smartphone.
  • Find out from your bank which mobile payment options they offer. Then load the corresponding app on your mobile phone.
  • If your bank is not yet involved in mobile payments, install a third-party app such as Boon or Vimpay.
  • Secure your cell phone in any case: with a PIN or fingerprint. Also install virus protection.
  • Turn on the NFC function on the smartphone.
  • Before paying, let the cashier know that you want to pay by card. Hold the cell phone up to the payment terminal. Cashiers can currently classify the information about the card even more easily than the information about paying with the mobile phone.

Mobile payment, i.e. paying with the cell phone at the checkout, has been a long time coming in Germany. The market was too small and there were too few points of acceptance. But mobile payment has been around since 2018 gained momentum. The big providers from the USA are there, and the savings banks and Volksbanks are also playing their part.

What is mobile payment?

Instead of paying with cash or card at the cash register, you use your smartphone set up for payment. All you have to do is hold the mobile phone up to the terminal, the terminal and smartphone do the rest.

Before paying, let us know that you want to pay by card. For the terminals it makes no difference whether you pay with a credit or giro card or with your mobile phone. Since paying with the smartphone is still not very common, the note on card payment ensures less confusion among the cashiers.

In order to pay with the mobile phone, the smartphone must be NFC-capable. The term is behind the abbreviation Near Field Communication, in German near field communication. This is the transmission standard that makes contactless payments with credit cards or mobile phones possible.

Large amounts of data cannot be transmitted with NFC, and the range is only a few centimeters. This is why NFC is perfect for exchanging payment data between a smartphone and a POS terminal. In addition, the providers secure the payment apps in different ways in order to prevent the cell phone from being used by unauthorized persons.

Paying with your mobile phone also includes a App. This can come from your bank or from providers such as Google or Apple. A bank card must be stored in the app, i.e. the app can access the card and debit money.

The NFC function of the mobile phone must be switched on. On the other hand, you usually do not need an internet connection. After multiple offline payments, however, you must have an internet connection again when paying so that you can then continue to pay on your mobile device without internet.

Mobile payment is not limited to smartphones. There are now so-called wearables, for example watches, with which you can pay at the checkout by holding them up to the payment terminal.

The NFC symbol

Where can you make mobile payments with your smartphone?

Many large supermarket chains are now not just accepting Credit cards- but also NFC payments. It doesn't matter whether you use a plastic card or your smartphone.

These supermarkets include, for example, Aldi Nord and Süd, Rewe, Edeka and Kaufland. You can recognize NFC-enabled registers by this Wave symbol, which is usually placed near the cash register or at the payment terminal.

In many cases you can also pay with the Girocard either contactlessly or with your mobile phone. However, some terminals do not yet accept these variants.

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Who offers mobile payment?

Before mobile payment made the first real progress in Germany in 2018, some providers had to emerge and disappear again: Yapital, for example, or Mpass and the Vodafone wallet are history again.

There are still numerous small providers that enable mobile payment, for example supermarket chains via their app. However, the major providers have now also made it onto the German market.

Savings banks and Volksbanks

TheSavings banks and Volksbanks offer mobile payment for Android smartphones via their own apps. You can store your credit card in these, butalso the Girocard. To do this, the respective bank must take part in the payment process. Attention: You can only make contactless payments with the Girocard in Germany. This also applies if the card is stored in the smartphone. Most savings banks have also been integrating Apple Pay since the end of 2019.

Google Pay

Since June 2018 Google Pay on the move on the German market. The offer can only be used by consumers who have an Android smartphone. In Germany, Google works with various banks that have integrated Google Pay into their apps.

These are providers such as the Finanztip recommendations Comdirect, Consorsbank and DKB. You can find a complete list here. The credit card providers Mastercard, Visa and American Express are also included.

In addition, the payment process works via the service provider Boon (Wirecard) and Vimpay (Paycenter). You have to give them access to your current account, but you can then use the service regardless of your bank's participation. You will receive a virtual card for this, which is stored in the Vimpay and Boon apps. A user account can be opened with both providers in a few minutes.

Google Pay also works over Paypal, both via the Google Pay app and the Paypal app. If you pay with your smartphone in this way, PayPal will first deduct the sales from the credit on your PayPal account. If that is not enough, the provider accesses the stored current account. You cannot yet pay with your own credit cards, PayPal creates a virtual debit card from Mastercard for this service.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay started in mid-December 2018, this service only works on Apple devices, for example the iPhone or the Apple Watch. The credit card providers Mastercard, Visa and American Express are also involved in this payment service. In addition, providers such as Comdirect, Consorsbank, DKB, Hanseatic Bank and Norisbank Apple have been involved. You can find a complete list on the Apple website.

Like Google Pay, Apple Pay also works independently of banks via the Service providers Boon and Vimpay. You then use the payment system via a virtual credit card from Mastercard. Depending on the provider, you can top up this card via transfer, credit card or direct debit from your current account.

Since Apple denies other providers access to the NFC interface, that's Apple Pay only payment system, with which iPhone users can pay.

Alternative solutions

But it doesn't always have to be the solution from a large provider. Deutsche Bank, for example, offers its customers with iPhone Apple Pay. But Android users do not pay via Google Pay, but via the bank's own solution in the app.

AsAlternative to NFC some systems rely on QR codes, symbols or rows of numbers that are scanned in by the cashier, for example, or that the customer names at the checkout.

These systems are more common in supermarket chains and similar retailers. These often combine paying by appSpecial offers and bonus programs. This makes such payment options especially interesting for regular customers.

One example is the app from the Netto supermarket chain. You can use it to pay by direct debit or PayPal. In this case, too, the app is linked to the PayPal account. With the Edeka app, you pay using a barcode that is scanned at the checkout.

Payback Pay works as a mixed product: with most Payback partners you pay via a QR code, with Aral, however, via NFC. Mobile payment is quite attractive for Payback app users: They use the app anyway, and Payback occasionally distributes bonus points for paying by mobile phone.

Is it safe to pay with my smartphone?

When paying with the smartphone, there are different safeguards. The smartphone always has to kept close to the terminal so that contactless payment works. In addition, at least the Screen activated be.

With sums No PIN is required for less than 25 euros. For higher sums you also have to identify yourself: Either you enter your PIN at the cash register or in your mobile phone. This makes it very difficult for criminals to circumvent the security precautions.

Providers secure NFC differently

Google forces its users to activate a screen lock for the mobile phone. For sums of less than 25 euros, you do not have to unlock the device, but the screen must be activated. If the cell phone is stolen, the thieves can only use it to pay for small purchases.

AtApple you can prove your identity with your fingerprint, the code for the mobile phone or by recording your face.

TheSavings banks let the customers decide for themselves which security setting they prefer. Payment can be made with the screen active or only when the mobile phone has been unlocked. As a third security level, it is planned that users switch on the app in order to pay with their mobile phone.

Even with theVolksbanks Different security settings are possible: Either the customers activate the display or they start the app.

Which data are passed on

When paying will beno card data passed on to the dealer. Apple and Google also do not receive the data if you use one of these services. Instead, so-called tokens are stored in the apps, a kind of virtual card number. Experts speak of tokenization.

These numbers are linked to other things, for example to a device (smartphone) or a dealer. The same card can therefore be used with different tokens. It willSmartphone stolen, only the relevant token can be deleted, the card data itself is protected.

This also means that the map data cannot be read from the smartphone. For NFC-enabled cards, for example, this is partly possible with a smartphone app. However, even with these cards, the relevant data is not sufficient to generate a functional card duplicate.

When paying with the smartphone, however, providers such as Apple, Google or Paypal receivePayment transaction data - and thus to the preferences of the users (for example via the preferred dealers).

Apple states that it does not store any personal information about the transactions. Google, on the other hand, can collect data about the purchase, for example the time, the dealer or the total. If you don't want that, either use the payment solution of your own bank, as it will receive your payment data anyway, or pay with cash.

What to do in case of loss

If you have lost your mobile phone, you should immediately deactivate or block the card stored in the payment service. There are different ways of doing this with the providers.

Android users find and lock your cell phone using the "Find my device" function. Data can also be deleted in this way. For this function, however, both an Internet connection to the device and the location detection must be activated. Also at Apple the device must be online so that users can lock it or delete the data.

You can also send the card stored with the payment services as normal Block your bank. Since your phone may not be online at first, we recommend this procedure.

If you use the system of the Sparkassen or Volksbanken, block the cards by calling your bank. Locking via the free emergency number 116 116 is possible.

Since no card data is stored in the mobile phone, it will not be lost in the event of theft. You can continue to use the plastic card even if you have blocked the card for mobile payments.

In the event of improper payments, you are usually liable until the card is blocked a maximum of 50 euros. However, you must report the loss of the card immediately and there must be no gross negligence. A typical case of grossly negligent behavior is when you keep the PIN for the mobile phone and the log-in data for the mobile payment together with your mobile phone.

Should youPaypal for mobile payment, you have to contact PayPal's customer service. As long as you have not acted negligently, you are not liable in this case either.

Make your smartphone safe

Smartphones are small computers. This applies to them, which also applies to the computers with which you do your online banking: Protect them from malware. Because this can also lead to problems when paying with the smartphone.

There are free virus scanners for smartphones. Some software companies also offer apps for smartphones in addition to their virus scanners for computers; You can then buy the protection combined. These programs also often offer you the option to remotely lock your cell phone or your Delete data.

Can I send money using NFC?

You can not only pay with your smartphone at the cash register, but of course also on the Internet. Another application is that Sending money (Peer-to-Peer Payment). In Germany, for example, the savings banks and Volksbanken offer this for their customers or the smartphone bank N26.

However, this has nothing to do with NFC. Peer-to-peer payments are transfers. You don't need an IBAN for this, just the Mobile number Recipient. The money is usually with the recipient immediately.

The situation is different if the recipient is a customer of another bank or is not registered for the service. Then he receives a link through which he can enter his bank details and receive the money.

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

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