More Secure Ways to Pay

Maribeth WardTech Tips0 Comments

Cash, and even traditional credit cards, are becoming endangered. All thanks to Apple Pay, Google Wallet and newcomer Coin which wants to be the gadget that replaces all of your credit cards in a single device.

Paying with a traditional credit card can be risky these days. Account numbers can be stolen or hacked at retail sites or restaurants. Smart phone payment options may be easier and can be safer (although nothing is foolproof). Here is some information on the latest techie ways to pay without actually using a credit card.

Apple Pay
How it works: Set it up by opening the wallet app and tapping “add credit or debit card.” use the camera to read the numbers on your card or enter the numbers manually (the card image is not stored in your camera roll). Your bank will authorize it for use –this process may require a phone call or verification email. Purchase items by holding your iPhone near any credit card reader with the NFC or Apple Pay logo while keeping a finger on the Touch ID fingerprint sensor. Many retailers accept it including Whole Foods Market, Kroger, Walgreens and some Walmarts.

It is safer than a traditional card because it has several security levels built in. Your bank issues a “token number for each card and every purchase is authorized with a unique security code. Merchants have access only to the token number, never your card number. And for added security you verify transactions with your fingerprint (which Apple encrypts to prevent theft) making funds tough to access in your absence. It only works with the iPHone 6 or 6 Plus, iPad air 2 and iPad Mini 3 and Apple Watch.

Apple doesn’t store data about your purchases which means it isn’t building a profile of you and won’t target you with ads related to things you have purchased. You can also use store loyalty cards in the wallet app.

Android Pay
Set it up by opening the app and snapping images of cards or inputting numbers as you would with Apple Pay. You can buy items from participating retailers by looking for the NFC or Android Pay logo at the checkout. Unlock your phone (users are required to set up a device lock such as a code) and hold it near the credit card reader. You can use it at many retailers including Petco and Panera Bread.

It is secure since it uses token technology. It does not offer fingerprint verification to authorize payment at this point in time.

You can use Android Pay on older Android phones as long as it is running OS4.4 (Kitkat) or higher. And, you can use your store loyalty cards to earn and use points.

Only problem may be that the Android’s developer, Google may store and use data on your buying habits, although they do not share that information.

While PayPal has been around awhile it’s still one of the most accepted ways of paying for online merchandise. You set it up by scanning cards via the camera or inputting numbers as you would with Apple Pay or Android Pay. To shop, check in at participating retailers via their apps or the PayPal app. Payment can be a simple one-touch or a complex of passcodes–it’s up to you to decide. PayPal is available at many retailers including Home Depot and Toys R Us. At shops that accept PayPal like many Subways you can pay ahead of pickup. It does require cell reception so if you are out of range, you are out of luck.

It is probably safer than a traditional card because of the extra security measures (up to three layers of authentication). They also never share your information.

Coin looks and behaves just like a real credit card; it’s exactly the same size, thickness and weight as your existing cards, distinguishable as something electronic only by a small e-paper display (which identifies the currently selected credit card) and a small button. The button is flush with the card’s surface, making the whole contraption look like some sort of movie prop or pre-production prototype.

The back of the card has a magnetic strip, your pre-printed name and space for your signature. It looks just like an all-black credit card, though it lacks any bank logos. Using Coin is simple. Press the button to wake it up; if your phone (iPhone or Android) is nearby, it unlocks via Bluetooth. You can use the default credit card or cycle through any of the eight other cards held in memory. If your phone isn’t around, you can unlock the card using a personalized Morse code-like tap sequence. Then swipe it, or hand it to the cashier to be swiped.

Coin is far safer than a traditional magnetic strip card if stolen or lost. Without your phone or knowledge of the tap code, the card is a useless inert hunk of plastic, with 256-bit encryption protecting the various cards stored within. It doesn’t even display credit card numbers.

It costs $100 a year so it may not be for everyone however for adventurous people who carry numerous credit cards in their wallet, it can be an effective and practical way to shrink that number to two. For information on Coin go to

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