How To Buy Just About Everything With Your Smartphone Without Cash

Smartphone devices can do much more than help users to make calls and send texts.

The future is here.

And it involves everybody using their mobile phones to make all sorts of payments.

At least that is what every gadget site would tell you.

Android along with Apple and Google want all of their users to survive in this world on nothing but a bunch of their own products.

If we specifically talk about financial data then most of it is already stored on your credit cards in the form of NFC chips.

It is true that there are tons of stores in the United States alone that don’t support such transactions.

Most there are a ton more that do.

In other words, most stores in the US now support NFC chipped credit cards.

The same goes true for banks as well.

There are a ton of ways in which you can pay for anything and everything using nothing but your smartphone and/or credit card.

We have made this guide for you after some thorough research on what and which stores and banks support smartphone payments.

Of course, you will have to make payments via your smartphone with the help of an app.

But you don’t need to worry about the details as long as you read through this guide.

This guide will help you keep your hands away from your wallet every single time you want to pay for your coffee.

And a lot more.

The Banks That Support Smartphone Payments.

Smartphone devices can now become your default credit cards and debit cards.

Here is the thing about paying with smartphones:

First, you have to make sure that you have something you can pay for with the help of your smartphone.

In other words, if you want your smartphone to allow you to pay for something then you will have to connect it to a bank.

A real bank.

More specifically, a real bank account.

And we expect that you would have some money in that bank account.

Real money.

Otherwise, if you just go ahead and wave your smartphone across some terminal then it isn’t going to do much at all.

If anything.

So where’s the list then?

As far as Apple Play is concerned, the list of banks in Canada and the United States of America that support Apple Play is quite lengthy.

Of course, it didn’t start off that way.

You can read it here.

But if you really like to play with numbers then our research shows that the number of banks in Canada and the US probably goes well into the thousands.

And you can rest assured that there are some pretty big names in there.

We’re talking about 121 Financial Credit Union along with Zions First National Bank.

And because the actual program started way back in October of 2014, Apple has had plenty of time to convince major banks and get them onboard.

Most of the major banks in both countries now support Apple Pay.

And we can only expect to sign up more banks and stores that allow users to pay via Apple Pay.

What About Android Pay?

Android pay has equally spread its wings.

In other words, there are plenty of organizations that support Android Pay in Canada and the US.

You can read the list here.

Needless to say, the Android Pay list starts things off with 1880 Bank.

And then conveniently ends with Zions Bank.

As we have mentioned before, there are now hundreds of banks in both the US and Canada that support Android Pay.

Of course, the list isn’t exactly as long or as comprehensive as the Apple Pay one.

But the Android Pay list is approaching the level of “enough”.

Besides, Apple Pay had that 12-month head start so it is logical that is it is ahead of Android Pay in terms of signing up more organizations to support its payment platform.

There is no point in arguing the fact that Apple Pay wins when we are talking about the number of banks that support it.

In other words, by sheer numbers, Apple Pay wins.

But that doesn’t mean you’re in trouble if you want to use Android Pay.

In fact, our research shows that you will have to make a lot of effort in order to find a bank that makes no arrangements for supporting Android Pay.

That’s It For Android Pay and Apple Pay. But There Is Also Samsung Pay.

You can read the list of supported banks for Samsung Pay right here.

It is rather short though.

Or should we say, shorter?

Perhaps the fact that Samsung only launched its Samsung Pay back in September 2015 as far as the US is concerned, has played a major part in it lagging behind Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Nevertheless, even with the fewer numbers, Samsung Pay list of supported banks is comprehensive.

We’re talking about names such as,

  • Chase
  • Wells Fargo
  • Bank of America
  • Many more

In other words, you can take advantage of all these banks in order to pay for your transactions via Samsung Pay.

What should you take away from all these payment methods and support?

Well, the thing you should understand is that if you can’t find a way to pay with your smartphone in a given store, then don’t blame your bank.

Your bank is likely the last problem when it comes to your inability to pay for your stuff via your smartphone.

What About The Stores? Which Stores Allow Customers to Pay Via Their Smartphone Devices?

As mentioned before, there are tons of stores in Canada and the US that allow users to pay via their smartphone devices.

We have also mentioned that the best three methods pay via your smartphone are,

  • Android Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Samsung Pay

But how do you find which store supports these payment methods even if you know which banks support mobile transactions?

Remember when we told you that if you can’t pay via your smartphone device, then your bank isn’t likely to be the problematic part?

Well, this is why we said it:

When it comes to paying via your smartphone devices, “stores” present the biggest problem.

Not banks.

In other words, stores are the biggest problem why you don’t see anyone and everyone paying for anything and everything via his/her smartphone device.

Because it doesn’t matter if you have worked hard and have connected your smartphone to your bank account or credit card.

Even if you do everything right and select the best mobile payment service, it can’t do much if the store you’re in doesn’t work with it.

But how can you know if the store you are standing in right now, supports your smartphone?

Or if the store would want to use your smartphone for payment instead of your debit or credit card?

Here is the thing you need to know about smartphone payment systems:
Systems such as Samsung Pay, Android Pay and Apple Play all work the same way.

That is, via the magic that is NFC.

NFC stands for Near Field Communication.

These are basically short-range radio waves.

NFC waves basically enable users to exchange data between any two given devices.

For our purposes, we need to know about the ID tag.

A verified ID tag can basically confirm that a user or customer is exactly who the customer or user says he/she is.

Moreover, users can also specify how they would like to pay for their stuff with ID tags.

How Does Money move from your smartphone device to the bank account of the store?

Well, the process itself is a bit complex since there are lots of steps involved.

Take a look at the picture below to understand it:


You see, there are these things called merchants.


Now, there are merchants and then there are merchants with kiosks.

In order for anyone to pay via his/her smartphone, that someone has to tap his/her smartphone to that merchant’s kiosk.

Here is the twist though:

The money itself, or the bank details and credit cards don’t get transferred as soon as you do the above-mentioned step.

What happens then?

Well, instead of the above-mentioned scenario, here is what actually happens:

Your smartphone first sends a secure token.

This secure token represents the details such as bank information and credit card information.

Your bank is the entity that issues those tokens.

How does your bank know which of its customers want such tokens?

Well, that’s why you first have to connect your smartphone with your bank account.

The first time you set up your smartphone for mobile payments, that’s when the bank issues these tokens.

How Does The Merchant Get His/Her Money?

More like, how does the merchant accept these secured tokens?

Well, if a merchant wants to accept these secured tokens from someone via his/her smartphone, then it needs to install NFC-enabled readers.

Makes sense right?

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that companies would want to outdo each other while trying to ensure that the maximum number of stores have these NFC-enabled readers.

Regardless, Samsung Pay is the one smartphone payment system that has a considerable advantage over the rest of the field.

The rest of the field, currently only includes Google and Apple smartphone payment methods.

Samsung Pay can work with the help of NFC.

Moreover, it also supports other methods such as MST.

MST stands for Magnetic Secure Transmission.

The MST technology isn’t new.

So don’t fret over it.

In fact, most credit cards along with debit cards have this technology installed in them by default.

What does MST do?

Well, essentially it enables a user’s smartphone to work like a card.

And when your smartphone mimics a card, it can work with the magnetic strip.

Let’s simplify that a bit further:

We don’t think there is a store out there that doesn’t have the facility to swipe your card.

And if a store has the ability to swipe a card then it automatically has the ability to accept Samsung Pay.

So what do you need to do in order to actually pay via your smartphone?

Well, if you’re working with Samsung Pay then the process is really simple.

Here is what you need to do:

You need to hold your smartphone about an inch, but not more, of the terminal.

And yes, the whole process will make use of the technologies we mentioned before such as tokenization.

With tokenization in place, users don’t have to go through the trouble of sending their payment information to their banks or to any other party that might need it in order to complete the transaction via smartphone.

More on NFC or Near Field Communication

There are many ways to pay via your smartphone device

Let’s head back to where we started to talk about NFC.


Because if you happen to own an iPhone and/or a non-Samsung Android smartphone, then you will need to make use of NFC in order to pay for your stuff with your smartphone.

A lot of shops have contactless payment systems (they show it via related symbols) nowadays.

You need to find such shop.

What does the symbol look like?

Well, it looks like a Wi-Fi wave is hitting a person’s hand.

Shops with such symbols and/or systems should have no problems in accepting payments via the user’s smartphone.

Of course, in the case of paying via your smartphone devices, the more the merrier.

In other words, if a shop has Android Pay along with Apple Pay and Samsung Pay symbol then that is great news for the user.

Some shops have one or two and some have all three smartphone payment systems available.

Where Does Smartphone Payments Work?

We don’t want to say that smartphone payment systems are available to users anywhere and everywhere.


Because then we would slightly exaggerate the availability of such smartphone payment systems.

But what we can say is this:

Most major merchants across the country now support smartphone payment systems from companies such as,

Some of the merchants include the likes of,

  • Walgreens
  • Whole Foods
  • GameStop
  • McDonald’s
  • Subway
  • Staples
  • Macy’s
  • Best Buy
  • Disney Store
  • Starbucks

These are just some of the outlets that have the necessary arrangements for users to pay via their smartphone devices.

Right now, we would forgive you for thinking that where is WalMart in all of this?

Sadly, Walmart is an absentee as far as the list above is concerned.


Because WalMart made the decision of providing the company’s own smartphone payment option.

Users can avail this option via an app.

So where is the trouble then?

The trouble is likely to come your way when you go to smaller and more independent places.

These places, or stores, usually have much older point-of-sale hardware.

Of course, there is always a chance that a user may already use Samsung Pay or MST.

But if you want to make sure that there is no confusion about the whole thing, always watch out for the symbols we have mentioned above.

This is perhaps the only sure fire way to know if the store you are visiting has smartphone payment systems installed.

So Can You Really Pay For Everything With Your Smartphone?

That is the question we asked at the start of this guide.

And the answer to that is as simple as they come.


Not really.

But here is the longer answer:

You can’t pay for anything and everything with your mobile phone yet.

That is at least true with mobile payment systems such as Android Pay and Apple Pay.

And you already know why that is.

As mentioned before, merchants simply haven’t adopted the technology enough.

The only chance that a user may buy everything via his/her smartphone is if the user only shops at big name stores.

Users who are very accurate on how and where they are going to spend may also pay for everything with their smartphone devices.

The safe option is, of course, to carry around with you some cash and credit cards as you may need them.

More Factors On Whether You Can Buy Everything With Your Smartphone

There are many factors which have to come together to give the consumer a painless and cashless payment system

We’re talking about your physical location.


That is a factor as well.

And after the hardware, this is perhaps the biggest factor.

Your place of residence on the map does affect if you can or can’t buy everything with your smartphone device.

As far as the people in the US are concerned, we have to say this:

The US is lagging behind many other countries when it comes to moving credit cards which comply with EMV standards.

Some of you may know these credit cards as Chip and Pin cards.

Nevertheless, the point to remember here is that the US is not the most advanced country when it comes to paying for your stuff with smartphone devices.

What About The UK Then?

The UK is, at least at the time of writing this guide, ahead of the US when it comes to paying for your stuff with your smartphone device.

Why do we say that?

Well, if you go to the UK, you will soon find out that contactless credit and debit cards have become the standard for people in the UK for many years now.

If we are talking numbers, then just about each and every store has managed to upgrade its terminals in order to accept the newer cards.

Moreover, the previously-mentioned smartphone NFC payments tend to work with the exact same technology.

In the UK, you can expect to pay via your smartphone from mall and gas stations to restaurants and Wimbledon branch of Tesco.

Simply put:

You’ll have to push hard in order to find a place inside the United Kingdom where you can’t pay with a smartphone in your hand.

What Do I Need, Beside My Smartphone, In Order To Pay For Anything And Everything With My Smartphone?

Not a lot.

But you do have to make sure that someone doesn’t just comes around and runs off with your smartphone.

You probably know what such an individual would do right?


He/she would probably go on a heavy spending spree.

In order to guard against it, the people behind such technologies have set up some verification systems.

In other words, users like you have to verify your identity.

And you have to do that at the moment you are holding your smartphone on any given terminal in any given direction.

Usually though, this is accomplished via a fingerprint feature which exists on most modern smartphones.

Of course, you can also go the route of unlocking your smartphone before you actually start to pay for your stuff.

You can unlock your smartphone with a pattern or a PIN depending on your setup.

What About Smartwatches?

If you use a smartwatch to do make payments then the process is a bit different.

Basically, if you use a smartwatch then the system already takes it as if the user has authorized the transaction.

So all you really need to do is to place your Android Wear Watch or Apple Watch or even Samsung Gear watch on the store’s terminal.

And that is it.

This will work even if you don’t have your smartphone nearby at the exact time your placing your smartwatch on the terminal.

So how do the shop and the bank communicate?

Well, they communicate via the store terminal.

And since the user has already verified his/her identity by using his/her smartwatch and typing out the access code at the beginning, the bank and the store have no more obstacles to deal with.

You have to keep in mind one thing though:

Smart Watches that come with features such as NFC-pay usually demand the user to input a code each time the user puts the smartwatch on.

That may or may not bother you.

Some Other Security Measures

There are many hurdles in smartphone devices becoming the default payment devices.

To keep away from any mishaps one has to put in a lot of security measures.

And especially when it comes to paying for your stuff with a smartphone device.

THe security feature we want to talk about now is the maximum spend limit.

We all know what it is.

And how it can help you not go broke.

Of course, the feature and its effectiveness varies between merchants, cards and of course, banks.

Time for an example:

Apple is pretty clear about the fact that user may actually need to submit a signature and/or enter their PIN code if they want to engage in transactions that are over $50.

You can think whatever you want to think about that but that’s the way it is.

Of course, these extra stages should not really get in the way of paying with your smartphone device.

Besides, the convenience of paying with your smartphone device is far more than just inputting a PIN code.

Now we would like to mention something we should have mentioned in more detail in the smartwatch section of this guide.

If users want to then they can make payments even if they are without a cellular connection.

Yes, users can make payment even when they don’t have Wi-Fi connection.


Well, it turns out, the NFC basically handles the related data transfer part of the process.

The shop’s contactless terminal manages the task of connecting the user to his/her bank and hence verify the user’s transaction.

In other words, users don’t need to worry about paying for their stuff with their smartphone even if they don’t have any signal.

So How Do You actually Set Up Your Smartphone To Pay For Your Stuff?

The process is very straightforward.

Of course, we’re only talking about smartphone payment methods such as,

  • Samsung Pay
  • Apple Play
  • Android Pay

And remember, that some minor details may change or vary as they depend on the user’s bank and other security measures that are in place in order to prove that the user is truly who he/she says he/she is.

As mentioned before, the user may also need to verify his/her identity via a code that related entities may send to the user’s registered mobile number.

But that is just an example.

How To Set Up Your iPhone To Pay For Your Stuff

If you are on iOS, you need to,

  1. Make your way to Wallet & Apple Play in the Settings menu.
  2. After you have done that then you need to select the option that says Add Credit or Debit Card.
  3. Needless to say, you need to have your actual physical credit/debit card right beside you if you want to start the process and go through it quickly enough.
  4. From the same menu as in step 2 you need to set, or tell, your smartphone which card if should consider as the default one.
    This step is important if you want to stay away from all the fiddling around that happens at the checkout terminals.
    Moreover, if you set a default credit card or debit card then you can enable the option that would let you have quick access to it with a simple double-tap on your Home button.

How To Set Up Your Smartphone If You Are Using Android Pay?

The process for Android Pay isn’t all that difficult either.

Basically, you’ll need to install the Android App on your smartphone.

You can get that here from Google Play Store if you want a safe download.

But there is always a chance that your smartphone device may have come preinstalled with such an app.

So check with your smartphone manufacturer booklet or something and then decide if you want to install the official Android Pay app from Google Play Store.

When you do install the Android Pay app and run it, it will invite you to set up a default card.

This usually happens as soon as a user launches the Android Pay app after installing it on his/her smartphone device.

But there is more:

Users who want to use more than one credit or debit card can add extra cards.

To do that, you’ll have to make use of the plus button that is located in the lower right corner of your smartphone’s screen.

Locate the button and then tap on it to add an extra card.

If you want to view recent payments, then all you have to do is to tap on any existing card.

Moreover, you can also view the bank issued token for each of your added cards.

So let’s assume for now that you have installed the Android Pay app from Google Play Store and have run the installed app.

Now, you need to go to How to Pay from the main menu of the app.

There you should see the exact information on where that NFC chip that we keep talking about is on your smartphone.

And Finally How To Setup Samsung Pay On Your Smartphone

By now you should know the drill pretty well.

Setting up Samsung Pay on your smartphone device is also relatively painless.

Unless you mess something up that is.

In any case, you will need to open the official Samsung Pay app.

If you don’t already have that on your smartphone then you can download the Samsung Pay app from Google Play Store by clicking this link here.

After you have installed the app on your smartphone device, you will need to select your verification method.

This verification method will represent your preferred way of verification.

If you want to and your smartphone supports it, you can also use the IRIS detection feature.

As we just mentioned, make sure your smartphone supports such feature.

Samsung Pay app will work a bit differently from Apple Play and Android Pay apps.


Well, it will move forward with a setup wizard.

This setup wizard will guide users through the whole process of setting up the user’s first credit and/or debit card.

And as with both other mobile payment system apps, users will have the facility of tapping an Add button in order to add more than one credit and/or debit cards.

This add button is usually located on the user’s front screen when the Samsung Pay app is running.

Of course, you don’t really need to go through this step since this is only for those who want to add additional credit and/or debit cards on their smartphones.

Concluding Caution

hackers will always try to leverage newer technologies and exploit any security flaws.

Something that is very important and very relevant here is the fact that hackers and other cyber criminals are lurking in the shadows of the online world all the time.

The hackers that can hurt you in this case use devices called skimmers.

Google the term “credit card skimmed” if you want to find out more information on the subject.

For now, you need to know that debit card skimming is very common when you aren’t shopping at big name stores.

We’re thinking places such as,

  • Gas stations
  • Bank branches in far away locations

Hence sometimes people would tell you to not use smartphones or credit cards to pay for your stuff or for your gasoline and such items.

You have to decide for yourself though.

Our research tells us that it is best to keep some cash if you want to buy gas and other such items.

Skimmed credit cards, as mentioned before, are not uncommon.

If you are up for it, you can research gas stations that work exclusively via apps.


There are pump stations that don’t even take your average chip cards anymore.

Try and search an app by the name of SpeedPass by Exxon- Mobil.

This app will help you pay at selected pumps using NFC.

People who have seen hackers skim their credit cards should try out this new method of paying for your gas.

Of course, the problem with this method is that sometimes you will find it hard to find a gas station that is participating in Exxon Mobil Speedpass program.


Zohair A. Zohair is currently a content crafter at Security Gladiators and has been involved in the technology industry for more than a decade. He is an engineer by training and, naturally, likes to help people solve their tech related problems. When he is not writing, he can usually be found practicing his free-kicks in the ground beside his house.
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