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Alternative Mobile Payment Options To Check Out If You Don’t Have Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay

Alternative Mobile Payment Options To Check Out If You Don’t Have Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay

Mobile payment systems are gaining traction today, especially with the high profile release of Apple Pay, the near field communications (NFC) based system that Apple developed and released late last year. Since then, we have seen lots of retailers, banking institutions, credit card companies, and soon, even vending machines, gas pumps, and federal agencies support Apple Pay. The good thing about the launch of Apple Pay is that is also encouraged consumers to pay attention to mobile payment systems in general, including those that existed way before Apple introduced its own system. Google Wallet has been available since 2011 but it has not really taken off with the masses. But this year, it looks like we are going to see more mobile payment systems from different providers. For instance, Samsung is planning to launch its own Samsung Pay this year (which utilizes the more common magnetic stripe technology), and it appears that it may compete with Apple Pay.


Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and the upcoming Samsung Pay are all good options, especially for those who own handsets that support the technology needed to facilitate mobile payments. But what about those with smartphones that do not possess the tech? Thankfully, there are certain apps that you can use in order to make mobile payments.


PayPal (available as free download for Android, iOS, and Windows users)


It seems that PayPal has been here forever, and it is likely that it is staying by adapting to mobile times. The company's app allows users to pay from their smartphones at specific merchants and even some national retail chains. 


To pay using PayPal, you just need to select the merchant where you want to pay, authorize the app to make a payment for you by "checking in" at the business. When it is time for you to check out, you just inform the cashier that you are utilizing PayPal, and they will see your profile come up in their PayPal system. They can then process your payment without you getting some cash from your wallet. For more established business entities like Office Depot or Home Depot, you will need to provide a PIN as well as your mobile phone number. To use the PayPal app, you will need to have a Wi-Fi or a data signal.


Square Order (available as free download for Android and iOS users)


Unbeknownst to many, Square was one of the companies to develop mobile payment systems without using NFC technology. After several earlier systems, the company's latest offering is Square Order. This mobile payment app displays menu items for establishments within the vicinity that utilize Square for processing payments. You can order and pay in advance even before you set foot in the store -- when you get there, you just have to pick up the items you ordered earlier.


Square Order lets you explore nearby stores, but unfortunately, it does not support a search functionality. Square has partnered with establishments such as Whole Foods, but you can only use its app when you are ordering from the sandwich bar, not at the grocery section. 


LevelUp (available as free download for Android, iOS, and Windows users)


LevelUp makes use of a Quick Response (QR) code in facilitating mobile payments. When you launch the app, your personal code will be displayed. You then point this code at any LevelUp scanner when you buy something. The QR code changes depending on the amount of tip (shown at the bottom of the screen) that you want to give.


Unlike Square Order, LevelUp lets you search for establishments that support the system. Or, you can just look out for the LevelUp scanner that is normally set up near the counter. 


A word of warning -- many establishments still do not accept mobile payments, whether it is high-profile (like Apple Pay) or low-tech (like LevelUp). Perhaps the best thing to do before making use mobile payments is to check the local establishments if they support these systems or mobile payment apps.