Tapping your smartphone to pay for your shopping indulgence is no longer a fantasy.
With Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and last but not least Android Pay finally available, you'll no longer have to keep your phone while you dig for your credit cards to pay for groceries. Rather, it's simply a matter of putting your WhatsApp message on hold, activating your preferred mobile payment and card on the phone, scan your fingerprint and tap to pay.
The question is, which is your preferred mobile payment system? We have that answer for you, examining the three most basic requirements of a convenient payment system: banks, retailers, payment limit and compatible smartphones.
Apple started off early with securing American Express and launching earlier. Following which, it also managed to get major local banks such as DBS / POSB, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered on board too. The one missing element here is Citibank.
Samsung, on the other hand, has successfully wooed Citibank, building its inventory of supported banks to also include DBS / POSB, OCBC, and Standard Chartered. UOB users, we feel for you, because that's still not on the list yet.
Android Pay has quite a bit of catching up to do though. With both Citibank and American Express missing from its payment inventory, it limits your choices to credit or debit cards from DBS / POSB, UOB, OCBC and Standard Chartered.
Nonetheless, it's safe to say that both all parties are still actively courting the missing banks in their list, so it's really just a matter of time before your card is accepted on these mobile payment systems.
On the bright side, the inclusion of that many banks also mean that both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted across Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay. So there's really no excuse that you can't pay because that particular store doesn't accept either of the major payment methods.
Winner: a draw between Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, with Android Pay trailing behind
Well, this is quite straightforward. For all three payment systems, any merchants that accept Visa payWave or Mastercard PayPass would work. All you have to do is look out for an NFC terminal (see picture above) that has the payWave or PayPass logo.
Samsung, however, ups the ante since the payment system also integrates a magnetic secure transmission (MST) feature. Just as its name suggest, the MST feature transmits a secure magnetic signal, which is essentially emulating the action of swiping your credit card's magnetic strip in the machine.
See where we're going with this? That means most merchants with existing credit card terminals theoretically accept Samsung Pay. The bigger challenge, which applies to both MST and NFC payment, is getting retailers to realise that they can accept the new mobile payment system.
The thing about using credit cards is that you tend to spend more without realising it. That is, until you see your final bill.
Presumably, a transaction limit would curb that problem, which is exactly what payWave and PayPass are doing. The upper limit of S$100 would prevent any overspending even if you're fully aware of what you're getting into.
Except, if you're doing your weekly grocery run and it costs above S$100. You tap your phone on the system, only to be told that you're spending more than you should. Now, if you were to throw caution to the wind and spend like a boss, you would wish that the transaction limit isn't there.
Here's where Samsung Pay gives you that option. While the NFC payment system limits you at S$100, you can tap Samsung Pay on a credit card terminal, which doesn't have that spending restriction. In other words, you get the option to spend however you want, and not have a machine tell you off for spending way too much.