Tesco Tech Support Blog

Would you pay with your mobile phone?

Chances are that at some point in recent months, you got a new bank card capable of paying for goods and services simply by waving it at a contactless reader.

Mastercard's moneto mobile wallet is one of the ways you could be paying cashless

It’s the next evolution of cashless payments, and like Oyster cards on the London underground uses near field communications (NFC) technology to transfer money in a fast and secure way.

Of course, you probably haven’t used your card in this way yet, but that’s OK. It’s not like chip and PIN where everyone will start using it overnight. As cafes, shops and supermarkets start upgrading their readers to accept contactless payments, you’ll probably find it slowly becomes a part of your every day routine.

But what about the next tech after that, which is already available in some countries around the world.

Rather than paying for things with cash or cards, phones now have NFC built in too – and with the right app installed it’s possible to pay in exactly the same way with your mobile handset as it is with a contactless card.

Visa has tested out its service in the UK already, and Mastercard has just announced that it’s Moneto app will work in the UK. But it’s widely expected that the technology will become widespread next year. But will you feel comfortable paying for things with your phone?

Security concerns

It may not seem so, and given that not many of us use contactless card payments yet the chances are it’ll be a very slow take-off – but eventually become dominant.

Counter-intuitively, it is as secure as using a card. If you lose your phone, you can disable it quickly and since maximum payments via contactless methods tend to be around £15, the amount a thief can get away with before the phone locks of its own accord is relatively small. The bigger issue is going to be psychological.

Paying for something by tapping a phone rather than a card is going to seem really, really strange. But then again, so did sending a text message from a phone 15 years ago, or using a mobile at all for that matter. It’s amazing how quickly these things become normal.

So what do you think – will you be downloading Mastercard’s app and trying it out?

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