Mobile payment – the future of paying?

Paying by smartphone or smartwatch: That’s what is behind the term "mobile payment". Whether it’s at the shop till, in a restaurant or online – mobile payment is convenient and fast. The receipt is often sent digitally. In fact, loyalty vouchers and customer cards can often be used. It is also possible to make direct transfers between two or more people using the smartphone. For example, the bill for dinner together can be split in no time at all. One person pays for the whole bill and the others simply transfer their share by smartphone. This practical function is called peer-to-peer payment.

Mobile payment is free to use and works using an app. The credit card data and other supported payment cards are stored in the app. A token can then be generated for the actual payment process. This is always a randomly generated transaction number that does not allow for any conclusions to be drawn about the card or cardholder. As a result, this data is not accessible to anyone else, not even the app provider.

For the simple and fast payment process, you hold the smartphone up to a terminal, similar to with contactless payment. Near field communication (NFC) technology is usually used for data exchange between the smartphone and terminal using the app. Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are the largest providers with this technology in Switzerland. With these solutions the payment process is then confirmed on the display using biometric features. Depending on the device used, confirmation is possible using a fingerprint, facial recognition or iris scan. Another person cannot use the smartphone for payments in this way. The two solutions have proved successful internationally. Swisscard offers Apple Pay and Samsung Pay for the majority of its products: for most cards from American Express, the SWISS Miles & More credit cards, neutral Mastercards and Visa cards as well as now also the wow Visa Prepaid Card.

TWINT, a joint solution from Swiss banks, is often also used in Switzerland. For the payment process the user has to open the app first and then hold the smartphone up to the so-called "TWINT Beacon". Alternatively, a QR code can be read by the merchant’s terminal display using an app. To be able to use TWINT users need a bank account with one of the banks involved and that bank’s matching TWINT app. This can be protected from authorized access using a PIN code or finger print.

What about security and data protection? The app provider’s GTC are authoritative for data privacy. These state how and to what extent personal data is collected. User data protection is given top priority by the leading providers Samsung Pay and Apple Pay. For example, if you pay using Apple Pay, the app does not save any data on the actual transactions that allows for conclusions to be drawn about the person. In the event of the smartphone being lost: Block the cards and remove data from the app. Apple Pay is automatically blocked if you set the lost device to "Lost" mode using "Find My iPhone".