Apple Pay is here to stay. Google Wallet has been used for some time for mobile payments. Samsung is introducing their own mobile payment capabilities this year, calling it “Samsung Pay.” That’s great for smartphones that have NFC technology, but what about those less intelligent phones that we’re still using today?
You don’t have to upgrade to a new phone to be able to make mobile payments. Although there are some limitations on acceptance of these alternatives to Apple, Samsung, or Google, these free apps are going to let you pay on the go without spending extra dough to do it.
Not everyone is a fan of Paypal, but it works. You can pay from your phone at a local merchant, some national franchises, and Home Depot. Check-in with the business that accepts payments from Paypal and then authorize the money to be transferred. The business processes the payment and you get an email receipt to make sure an accurate amount was transferred.
At Home Depot, you’ll need a PIN. Some other franchises requires this as well. It isn’t uncommon for a local restaurant or business to allow an order by delivery, but not in person, when using this free app for Android, iOS, and Windows. You’ll need the internet or data, but the experience is pretty seamless.
Full disclosure: I’ve had a certified Paypal account since 1999. My college was one of the first to use digital payments as a way to compensate for workstudy. I use this every Friday to order Southern soul food to be delivered. A chicken fried steak purchased through mobile payments is a good thing.
#2. Square Order
Why Square pulled their wallet in 2014… it was replaced with this app. It works pretty well, but with fewer features than their wallet. What is nice about this mobile payments alternative is that you can see the businesses near you that accept money from the app and some even have their menus online as well. Order what you want, pay for it now, then pick it up when you’re ready to go.
I’ve got a bagel place that’s local which accepts Square Order payments and they bake their own fresh daily, so I tried this app to get a couple of onion bagels with cream cheese and it went smoothly. Non-chain coffee shops, like your roadside espresso stand, will typically take payments as well. Whole Foods takes Square Order, but only if you want a sandwich.
No groceries for you. If there’s a local business that accepts Square, then this free mobile payments app for Android and iOS will be useful.
What’s unique about this mobile payments solution is that it uses QR codes to initiate a payment transfer. Start it up and you’ll see your assigned code. Point it at a scanner that accepted LevelUp payments and you’ve made a purchases. Want to leave a tip? Your code changes based on the amount you choose below the code.
The advantage of LevelUp is that it can feasibly be used anywhere. There are also rewards in place for repetitive purchases through the app, along with coupons that apply automatically when purchasing.
The disadvantage is that many businesses in the Flyover States and around the world don’t use this payment platform unless they’re in a major metropolitan center. You won’t find it at any national franchises either.
This free app is available Android, iOS, and Windows. I ordered a hazelnut cappuccino with 4 shots of espresso this morning with it. I’m pretty sure the puzzled look from the barista was for the caffeine request instead of using LevelUp.
NFC transactions through Apple Pay or Samsung Pay might be the future, but these free apps are still useful. Do you use a mobile payments app? Which one do you prefer and how was your experience with it?