Tech Q&A: Should I use payment apps on my smartphone?

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Paul is receiving prompts to use payment apps, but are they safe?

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Q. Paul
My smartphone is prompting me to set up Google Pay. Is this a readily acceptable payment product in Australia? Do I have to bank with certain institutions for my cards to work? Is it secure and how do I go about installing it?

A. Google Pay is just one of many digital payment products that are slowly becoming more accepted, with Apple Pay being the equivalent for iPhones.

While the popularity of payment apps is growing, not every merchant will have contactless payment methods available, which means you won’t be able to use it everywhere that you go.

These apps will allow you to make electronic payments with your digital devices, whether it is your phone, tablet or smartwatch.

All purchases that you make this way are authenticated through encryption and digital certificates, which means that it is every bit as secure as online banking.

Most banks in Australia and the cards associated with them are now set up to work with both Google Pay and Apple Pay.

To set up the Google Pay app, you need to ensure that your smartphone or device is running Android Lollipop 5.0 or higher and then download the app.

Once you have downloaded the app, open it and follow the instructions. When you are asked to, add a card.

You may be asked to set up a screen lock on your Android device. Google Pay works with PIN, pattern, password, fingerprint, or retinae scanning screen locks. 

To pay in stores with Google Pay, your Android phone must work with NFC (near-field communication) and must have NFC turned on.

To check if your phone has NFC, open the settings and tap on the section called ‘connected devices’. If you don’t see this option, look for a similar one, such as ‘Wireless & networks,’ ‘Connections,’ or ‘NFC.’ You might need to tap ‘More’ to see other settings.

If you see ‘NFC’ or a similar option, you can pay in stores with Google Pay.

Have you used Apple Pay or Google Pay? Does it make your life easier? Do you consider it a safe way to make payments?

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