For everyone who thought reaching into a wallet to get a credit card out was just too much work, a growing number of services have become available to make buying things even simpler. These services come from some of the biggest companies out there and promise ease and security in the payment process. They also promise to change how spending and money management look for most people in the years to come.
Payment systems like Apple Pay and Google Wallet have made the familiar American Express slogan "don't leave home without it" obsolete. If you're curious to dip your toes into this new world of paying for things differently, here are the main payment services to know about.
A look at 3 digital wallets
1) Apple Pay
Apple Pay is the new kid on the scene and getting a lot of headlines because of it. A feature available on the iPhone6, Apple Pay allows users to load their credit card information and use their mobile phones to pay for purchases at any one of thousands of participating stores. You can also load the information for your loyalty cards to the app to make reaping the benefits they offer easier.
In comparison to the other options mentioned here, Apple's really played up the ease of use and the security benefits the service offers. No one sees your card number during a transaction; Apple doesn't keep a record of your purchases; and purchases require the use of Touch ID – a fingerprint identity sensor. Those concerned with privacy and theft will likely consider this the best of the bunch.
2) Google Wallet
Google Wallet has been around a while longer than Apple Pay, meaning it's accepted at more places, at least for now. It works pretty similarly to its Apple counterpart, with the added functionality of making it easy to send money to friends.
Whereas Apple Pay is only available on the iPhone, Google Wallet can be used on a number of different devices, making it the clear winner for anyone who prefers an Android to an iPhone. Where Google Wallet loses points is security. Your Google Wallet info is stored on the cloud, which means it could potentially be easier to hack into and steal, but Google will cover all unauthorized transactions reported within 120 days.
Unlike Google and Apple, PayPal's whole business is based on giving people the ability to make and receive payments. Like Google Wallet, PayPal's digital wallet app has the benefit of being available to users of a number of different devices. If you already have a PayPal account (as many people do by now), downloading the app and getting it set up are very simple.
Using it is a little more complicated than using the others though. You need to check in at whatever store you're at before making the purchase and it can therefore take longer to use than just pulling out a card. People have found the capabilities of their mobile payment app impressive, but the interface confusing.
Pay Attention To Your Spending — However You Do It
Whichever option you go with, whether it's one of these or sticking to your debit and credit cards and online bill pay, you'll want to keep track of your spending. The problem with it getting ever easier to pay for things is that it doesn't make it any easier to save! You can enjoy the payment services taking the country by storm today without sacrificing careful money management. There are many personal financial management tools out there. Check out Mint or EveryDollar.
Finding ways to spend money will never be hard, but making sure you practice responsible money management will help you keep some of your money in the bank.