HOW TO: 10 Ways to do Payment by Phone and Digital Wallets

Inspire Visual By Inspire Visual
Updated February 2024

Payment by phone is so convenient and simple to do, and it can replace your cash, checks, bank transfers and credit cards.

Setting it up only takes a few minutes, and once you start using it, you’ll practically never have to scramble for your check book, routing number, credit cards or go to the nearest ATM again.

Start paying by phone and digital wallets today.

Payment by phone has many benefits

Paying using tried-and-true methods feels safe and familiar. After all, most people use these payment methods every day and know them like the back of your hand. It can seem scary new territory to pay by mobile, but in reality, embracing mobile pay will actually mean your payments will be more secure, more convenient and – if you are like the average American – always within an arm’s reach as they are all done from your smart phone.

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Pay by phone apps

Pay by Phone apps are all different and each has its own specific uses, as well as pros and cons. Some app are used for transferring money between family and friends, some apps help customers make purchases at brick-and-mortar locations and some apps can even help you send money across the country – or even the world.

Common to all of these apps is that they are either completely free or are at a much lower cost than traditional methods.

Pay by Phone apps are third-party apps, so these are not offered by Apple or Google, and that is partly what makes them different from Digital Wallets.

Inspire Visual has reviewed the 10 most popular Pay by Phone apps below.

Mobile wallets

Mobile wallets are digital wallets on your phone. Apple offers Apple Pay for iPhones and Google offers Google Pay for Android phones.

To transfer your payment from your phone to the payment terminal, Near Field Communication (NFC), a recognized industry standard, is used.

NFC communication is done without sharing any bank information. An encrypted authorization is used to make a payment on your behalf. That way your personal payment details are never shared with the merchant, and it’s an even safer way to pay than credit cards.

Digital Wallets work much the same way as an old fashioned wallet. You can scan or manually enter your debit, credit, gift or loyalty card information into the digital wallet on your phone.

Once entered, you complete a transaction by simply holding your phone next to the payment terminal. For security reasons, you have to confirm the transaction by either entering your secret PIN or by using your fingerprint or face ID.

Follow these links if you want to jump straight down to find out how to set up your digital wallets for iPhone and Android.

Top 10 ways to do payments by phone

Click any name to jump to detailed information.

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How to send and receive money


Venmo Logo

Venmo is owned by PayPal but very different in its use and mostly adapted by Millennials and Gen Z’s below the age of 35.

It is mostly used for sending or receiving money between friends and family from your smart phone, although businesses have started to accept Venmo payments too.

Using the Venmo app, you can effortlessly send or receive money using either the recipient’s mobile number, email address or Facebook account. Each transaction can be accompanied by a short message.

If you connect Venmo with your debit card or bank account, all transfers are completely free. With a credit card there’s a 3% fee to send money to family and friends (receiving is free), however that fee is waived when you buy from a business.

Vemno offers great ways to transfer money.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store

Cash App

Cash App Logo

If you want an alternative to Venmo, Cash App is it. Like Venmo, you can send money to friends and family at no cost, but it also offers a slew of additional features.

After you have spent a few minutes opening an account, you will be able order free custom debit card. The debit card offers Cash Boosts offering instant discounts at stores, restaurants, websites and in apps.

If Bitcoin is your jam, you can buy, sell, deposit and withdraw bitcoin down to as little as $1. It’s also possible to track real-time Bitcoin within the app.

For the investor types, there’s an option to start commission-free investing from $1 and up. You can only buy and sell individual stocks, so your investments will be riskier than index funds offered by traditional trading firms.

This app is featured as our App of the Week.

Use cash app as payment by phone method.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store


Zelle Logo

The latest of the three major cash management apps (Venmo and Cash App being the two others), Zelle entered the market in 2017.

Like Venmo and Cash App, Zelle allows you to transfer money to friends and family from your bank account.

Its demographic is slightly older users. It is included in many mobile banking service apps already, so you don’t necessarily need to download the individual app to transfer money.

Zelle does not charge a fee to transfer money, however your bank or credit union might, so check with them before using the service.

A leading phone payment app.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store



PayPal has been a trusted provider in the financial industry since it became the payment provider for eBay.

While PayPal also owns Venmo, the two services do differ. PayPal offers money transactions like Venmo, but it operates more like a bank by offering loans, extending lines of credit and providing debit MasterCards for customers to withdraw money from ATMs or make purchases at stores.

PayPal is more geared towards businesses and less consumer-to-consumer. For more complex financial transactions than just sending money to a friend, PayPal will probably the favorable option.

PayPal makes it easy to use a smartphone to pay money.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store

Facebook Pay

Facebook Pay

There are more than 250 million people with a Facebook account in the United States. Worldwide, that number is 2.2 billion and the numbers are still climbing.

With Facebook Pay you can seamlessly transfer money through Facebook, Messenger and Instagram. WhatsApp is currently not available, but will be later.

Once you have added a payment method in Facebook you are ready to shop, make a donation or send money to anyone with a Facebook account and a linked debit card.

There are no fees to send or receive money via Facebook Pay.

Another wellknown payment provider is Facebook.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store
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How to do mobile banking

Chase Mobile

Chase Mobile

Long gone are the days where you had to go to the bank to get up-to-date information about your accounts. At this point, every large bank across the United States offer an app for bank management.

Chase Mobile is the highest rated app in the app stores, due to it being a feature-rich, easy-to-use UI. However, many banks offer the same conveniences as Chase Mobile.

From within the app you can view your account balance, monitor your credit cards, deposit checks by taking a picture, set up alerts and get the latest updates on your credit score.

Chase Mobile also supports Zelle, so you can get all the advantages Zelle offers.

Mobile Banking can all be done on your smart phone.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store

How to use for point of sale

Square POS

Square POS

For businesses to accept payment, Square is the major player when it comes to Point of Sale (POS) apps.

Square can turn any iPhone, iPad, Android phone or Android tablet into a cash register. All you need to do is to register your business account, install the Square app and plug the Square card reader into your device.

Once activated you’ll be able to accept payments such as magnet, chip and even contactless. You can also take online orders, phone orders and manage deliveries from their POS app.

With Square you can set up a payment terminal for mobile phones.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store



LevelUp is owned by Grubhub and offers an easy way to pay local restaurants and cafes using QR codes.

Participating businesses use a LevelUp QR code scanner or smart phone with the LevelUp app to take payments.

It’s all contactless, since the QR code on your phone is scanned and nothing else needs to be entered.

The app is free to use and just needs to be linked to your debit or credit card. As you use LevelUp, you will be rewarded with loyalty points and rewards that can be used towards future purchases.

A great way to accept phone payment in the restaurant business.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store

How to do international money transfers



If you need to transfer money internationally, TransferWise is a heavy-weight contender. They were founded in 2011 and support over 750 different currencies at very competitive rates.

If you compare to common bank rates, TransferWise charges much lower rates with a better exchange rate. With banks it can be difficult to tell the exact amount you’ll end up getting, but TransferWise tells you this up front.

The reason for the low fees is the company’s cost-effective business model. Your money never leaves the country, but is instead matched up with another TransferWise transaction in the receiving country, thus saving on pricey middle-men.

Convienient money transfers overseas in this app.
Get it on Google Play
Download on the App Store

How to use a third-party digital wallet

Samsung Pay

Samsung Pay

Available on Android only, Samsung Pay allows you to carry your credit, debit, loyalty and gift cards in a digital wallet on your phone.

You can use the app to pay in-person, in-app or online anywhere Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express are accepted.

You just use your phone’s camera to add your loyalty or gift cards as well as credit cards. Once they’re loaded, you can check out virtually anywhere credit or debit cards are accepted.

Some retailers also participate in the Samsung Cash Back Awards program, earning you money back on the things you enjoy.

Samsung is a great alternative for third-party mobile payments.
Get it on Google Play
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iPhone support for NFC has been possible since iPhone 7.

How to find out if your iPhone supports NFC

First you need to make sure your iPhone supports NFC, so you can communicate with the merchant’s payment terminal.

  • If you have an iPhone 6 or newer it has NFC, but you can only pay at stores accepting Apple Pay.
  • If you have an iPhone 7 or newer it has more advanced NFC technology and you can pay at any store accepting Apple Pay.

Even though it’s becoming more wide-spread every day, not all stores accept mobile wallets. Ask the cashier for assistance when in doubt.

How to set up mobile payment/Apple Pay on an iPhone

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Wallet & Apple Pay
  3. Select Add Card
Choose what credit card you want to use for payment.
This is how you set up a payment portal on your phone.

How to set up paying without unlocking your phone

If you want to be able to pay for purchases without unlocking your phone by double-clicking the Side button or Home button (depending on iPhone model), you can set that up too. And don’t worry, a thief can’t make the actual purchase without your password, fingerprint or face.

  1. Open Settings
  2. Select Wallet & Apply Pay
  3. Enable the Double-Click Side Button or Double-Click Home Button (depending on iPhone model)
  4. Go back to Settings
  5. Select Touch/Face ID & Password
  6. Enter Your Password
  7. Enable Wallet in the Allow Access When Locked section

Voilà! You can now pay for purchases without unlocking your phone. If your Apple Watch is linked, you can even use that to pay instead of pulling your phone out of your pocket.

Tip: In addition to credit cards, wallet can also store your boarding passes, reward cards and tickets.

Android also supports NFC in its later models.

How to find out if your Android phone supports NFC

The easiest way to find out if your Android phone supports NFC payment is by following the steps below.

  1. Open Settings
  2. In the Search Settings bar on top, type NFC
  3. Select NFC in the Connections category
  4. Enable the NFC toggle
  5. Enable Android Beam
    Note: Android Beam is not available on all phones

If you didn’t see NFC listed in step 3, you likely don’t have it on your phone.

Not all banks and credit cards support Google Pay as of yet. You can see a complete list of participating providers here.

How to set up bobile payment/Google Pay on an Android phone

  1. Open Settings
  2. In the Search Settings bar on top, type Tap and Pay
  3. Select the Tap and Pay result
  4. Download Google Pay from the Google Play store
  5. Make sure Google Pay is set as your default mobile payment service
  6. Open the Google Pay app
  7. Log into your Google account
    Any cards already registered with Google will automatically be listed
  8. Select the Payment tab
  9. Select + Payment Method
  10. Take a picture of your credit card or enter the details manually
Tap and Pay your online bills by enabling NFC.
Choose a credit card in Google Pay.

Next time you are shopping, you can hold your device up to a payment terminal for payment. If you are paying small amounts you may be able to pay without being asked for a password, but with larger amounts you need to authorize the transaction.

Tip: You can also add loyalty programs, offers and gift cards.

Advantages to using your smart phone for payment


If someone steals your cash, they can use it anywhere. Checks can be forged with fake signatures or tampered with in other ways. Even credit cards can easily be skimmed at the nearest gas station or stolen. Once your credit card (or its information) is stolen, it’s easy for a thief to make online or physical store purchases.

With a smart phone it’s different: if your phone is stolen, the thief would still need your fingerprint, face or pass code to access the phone and make a purchase.

And if you don’t currently have any lock on your phone, now is the time to enable it.


The average American spends more than 3 ½ hours on their phone every day. And to get setup with mobile payment, all you’ll have to do is spend a few minutes on the initial set up. After that, you will have to power to make a payment, complete a transfer or accept money. All from your phone. It’s that easy.

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Over $53 million people are already using mobile payments in the United States. In just 4 years that number is expected to grow 47% to $78 million users by 2024.

The number of retailers across the United States accepting mobile payments continues to steadily increase to meet the demand of users enjoying the conveniences of digital payment options.

Since app development is part of our service offering, we’re avid enthusiasts about everything digital and the convenience new technologies bring, so we hope sharing this information with you will help you feel a lot more comfortable starting to do payments by phone.

As with everything new, it takes a little time to setup and get used to something new, but once you get the hang of it it will become second nature.

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About Inspire Visual
At Inspire Visual, we believe that compelling design, functionality and content help drive effective results. That’s why we work hard to provide innovative, visually inspiring and functionally sound solutions to address your marketing challenges and extend your brand’s reach.

We offer decades of experience helping brands worldwide with websites, mobile app development, email marketing, direct mail campaigns, brand identity design, UI/UX, graphic design, print design, tradeshow design and more. We feel privileged to be allowed into our clients’ businesses, and we strive to provide personal service and close collaboration throughout your project.

Call 407.476.1950 or email [email protected] to contact us, so we can meet you, learn more about your business and answer any questions you have. We’d love to connect with you!


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