Paying with your mobile phone

From: Financial Consumer Agency of Canada

A mobile payment is a payment you make using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. You can make a mobile payment in a number of different ways.

You can also use your mobile phone to make online purchases through a merchant’s website or through your wireless provider. Examples of purchases through your wireless provider include downloading a ringtone or making a donation to a charity.

Contactless or tap payment

This type of mobile payment uses a technology called near-field communication, or NFC.

To make contactless payments, do the following:

  1. Download a payment app that stores your credit, debit or prepaid card information on your mobile device. The app may be from your financial institution or may be a mobile wallet
  2. Look for the following symbol on in-store payment terminals
  3. Launch your payment app
  4. Hold your mobile device close to the payment terminal until the payment is processed
  5. For some transactions, you may need to enter a password or scan your fingerprints

Depending on how you choose to pay, the payment app will then do one of the following:

  • charge the payment to your credit card account
  • deduct the payment from your bank account
  • deduct the payment from your prepaid card
  • add the cost of the payment to your monthly cell phone bill

Text message or email money transfer

Your financial institution’s online banking website may allow you to send a money transfer to another person with a Canadian bank account. A text or email alerts the person about the transfer.

You’ll need to know the person’s mobile phone number or email. You’ll also need to set up a security question they can answer.

If someone sends you a money transfer by text or email, follow the instructions to deposit the money into your account.

Your financial institution may call this an e-transfer. It may charge you a fee to send an e-transfer. There may be a limit on the amount of money you can send.

Quick response or QR payment

To make a QR code payment, display the QR code on your screen. The merchant will use its regular barcode scanner or another scanner to scan your QR code. A QR code consists of small black squares arranged in a pattern.

The QR code links to payment information you need to make a payment.

For example, you may get the QR code from:

  • your financial institution’s online banking website
  • your mobile wallet
  • a gift card

For example, you pay for coffee by showing the QR code linked to a gift card for that coffee shop.

In-app purchase

With in-app purchases, you use your mobile device to make a purchase from within an app. For example, you may buy extra content from a news app or extra features in a game. You pay for in-app purchases using the payment sources you saved to the app.

These payment sources may be one of the following:

  • a credit card
  • a prepaid card
  • a debit card
  • a mobile wallet
  • wireless provider

Risks of making mobile payments

Be alert for fraud when making mobile payments.

Smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices may expose you to identity fraud and fraud from malicious software. This software, also known as “malware”.

Malware can access your data without your knowledge or consent. Financial malware specifically targets the financial sector. It allows hackers to capture information about your financial transactions. This may include your login information and account numbers.

Get advice on how to protect your mobile device from fraud.

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