Getting a new bank card is handy, but paying with your phone or watch is even better. But what are your options if your phone is old or your bank just won’t play along? Here’s everything you need to know.
Most of us have a wallet or purse full of plastic, and that’s been life for the past few decades, but it doesn’t have to be the way things are forever.
You probably own a phone given most Australians do, and you’re probably using it to make phone calls to people, to surf the internet, to text and social and email and even possibly play games, listen to music, or get some mobile banking done.
And depending on the age of your phone, the price it cost, or the bank you’re with, you may also be paying for goods and services with that phone.
Mobile payment technologies have existed in phones since near the end of 2014, but they didn’t really start becoming readily available until a year later. Since then, banks and phone companies have been working to build various solutions to make phone payments possible for as many people, but it’s not always made easy.
Not every phone supports mobile payments
Frustratingly, phones don’t always come with the technology needed to make the connection to a mobile payment terminal. This piece of technology is inside nearly every modern debit and credit card you own, and it tells the terminal what it needs to make the transaction possible.
Called “Near-Field Communication” (NFC), it’s a chip that enables the whole “tap and pay” concept, but it won’t be found on every phone.
If you have an iPhone, the good news is that every iPhone made from the Apple iPhone 5S in 2013 onwards has support for Apple’s payment technology, the aptly named Apple Pay, but on Android, it’s not necessarily that easy.
Generally, any phone that was an expensive or “flagship” phone over the past five years will have it, but if you’ve spent a little less, you may not. Less expensive mobiles often don’t see NFC, and so if you saved a few bucks here and there with your recent phone, you may miss out.
Not every bank supports mobile payments
Add to this the problem that not every bank or lender supports the various technologies made available.
There isn’t one mobile payment standard, and so while there’s Apple Pay for iPhone, you also have Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Fitbit Pay, and Garmin Pay, and banks won’t always support all of them. Worse, some banks follow the beat of their own drum and run their own solutions, meaning take-up of these standards may not be as fast as you’d otherwise like.
Wearables and banks
So what’s the solution if your phone doesn’t support payments, and if your lender doesn’t like mobile payments? You find a wearable that does and will work with your phone, and a bank or lender that likes your wearable.
You may not realise it, but smartwatches and smartbands can offer a way to add mobile payment technologies to a phone that doesn’t, as the technology is often built in there.
That means even if your phone doesn’t support NFC for Google Pay or Samsung Pay, a wearable device can. It can add that technology to your phone, and provided your bank supports it, you can use that smartwatch or smartband to pay for things.
The catch in this is that you’re unlikely to buy a wearable just to add payment technology to your phone, so if you’re thinking of adding a smartwatch or health tracker to your life, the mobile payment technology is a bonus.
And if your bank doesn’t support the wearable you’re adding, it might be time to consider a new bank or lender, just so you can use that modern wallet that is your phone.
Which banks support Google Pay?
One of the biggest mobile payment providers is Google, and shock horror, the Google Pay solution works on supported Android phones. If you’ve owned a Google Pixel, a Huawei P or Mate, or a phone that costs more than a thousand bucks from Samsung, Motorola, Nokia, LG, Sony, HTC, BlackBerry, or Razer, you more than likely have this technology on your phone.
However if you’ve spent less, you probably don’t, so adding it is as easy as grabbing a smartwatch that supports it.
Google’s WearOS supports Google Pay, and WearOS appears on a lot of smartwatches, including those from Fossil, Michael Kors, Misfit, TAG Heuer, Skagen, Emporio Armani, and Louis Vuitton.
Banks and lenders supporting Google Pay in Australia include American Express, ANZ, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, Bankwest, Bendigo Bank, Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Heritage Bank, HSBC, ING, Macquarie Bank, NAB, St George, Suncorp, UBank, Up, and Westpac.
You’ll want to check whether your bank supports your specific card and account on Google Pay, but if you want to add Google Pay to a phone that doesn’t natively handle it, you’ll find it in a Google WearOS watch.
Which banks support Samsung Pay?
Google isn’t the only provider that can add its mobile payment technology to your phone using a wearable. Samsung can, as well, with Samsung’s own take on mobile payments arriving in the unsurprisingly-named “Samsung Pay” (unsurprising because every company uses their brand name).
Samsung makes a fair amount of wearable devices, but its Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active, and Gear S3 smartwatches can add support for Samsung Pay to devices, alongside the other features they include.
Banking partners for Samsung Pay in Australia are quite varied, and include the big four – ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, NAB, and Westpac — as well as plenty of others, namely American Express, AMP, Australian Unity, Bank Australia, Bank of Sydney, Bendigo Bank, Beyond Bank, Border Band, Bank of Queensland, Citibank, CUA, Endeavour Mutual, First Option Bank, Heritage Bank, Illawarra Credit Union, IMB, Latitude Financial Services, Suncorp, Teachers Mutual Bank, UBank, Up, and Virgin Money, to name but a few.
Which banks support Apple Pay?
When Apple Pay, the contactless payment service for iPhones and Apple Watches, launched last year it was only available to American Express customers. Apple then partnered with ANZ Bank, but the service remained largely unavailable to individuals using other financial institution. The good news is 31 banks have signed up to offer Apple Pay to their customers through one of Australia's largest payments solutions provider Cuscal. Here's the list of new banks that have jumped on-board Apple Pay.Read more
If you have an iPhone from 2014 onwards, you have a phone that supports tap payments through Apple Pay. That means if you have an iPhone 5S, iPhone SE, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6S, iPhone 6S Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus, iPhone X, iPhone XR, iPhone XS, or iPhone XS Max, you have an iPhone that supports mobile payments. The same goes for if you have an Apple Watch.
Of course, you need a bank or lender that supports Apple Pay to play, but fortunately, there are a few of those, including ANZ, CommBank, American Express,Bendigo Bank, Citibank, CUA, Endeavour Mutual, HSBC, Illawarra Credit Union, IMB Bank, ING, Latitude Financial Services, People’s Choice Credit Union, RACQ, Suncorp, Teachers Mutual Bank, and Up to name but a few. Seriously, there are loads.
Which banks support Fitbit Pay?
It’s not just the bigger smartwatches that offer pay integration, as select Fitbit models get it, as well. The Fitbit Ionic and Versa are setup for mobile payments using Fitbit’s own “Fitbit Pay”, as is the wrist-worn Fitbit Charge 3 tracker.
Australian banks that support Fitbit Pay are a little rarer, but you’ll find support from the big four — ANZ, CBA, NAB, and Westpac — as well as Bendigo Bank, Credit Union SA, Heritage Bank, Illawarra Credit Union, IMB Bank, Latitude Financial Services, Macquarie Bank, MyState Bank, UBank, and Up.
Which banks support Garmin Pay?
And just like Fitbit, Garmin has its own for its wearables as well. Garmin Pay — a name we’re sure will totally surprise you — exists on a select number of Garmin’s smartwatches and wearable fitness gadgets, and is supported by ANZ, Bendigo Bank, CommBank, Community Alliance Credit Union, Credit Union SA, Cuscal, Heritage Bank, IMB Bank, Illawarra Credit Union, Latitude Financial Services, MyState Bank, NAB, Up, and Westpac.
This story has been updated since its original publication.