Though some people may not be aware of it, there is a financial revolution underfoot and the day is getting closer (or is it here?) that our smartphones will replace our wallets and credit cards. Gone will be the day that we whip out our credit cards to pay for a restaurant bill or a deposit in an online casino; instead, we will reach for our smartphones and, a few taps later, money will be transferred. Due to new technology, a mobile wallet war is happening right now! Formats like Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay, as well as methods that allow you to pay via your mobile, such as Boku, Payforit and Siru, are jostling for top position and for the consumer’s attention. Currently, there is no leader on the battlefield but competition is intense as, clearly, the future is now.
For at least the last decade, Apple, Google, and Samsung have been going head to head to gain the biggest chunk of the mobile market, and that rivalry is continuing in the mobile-wallet arena. The financial rewards are huge, which is why these companies have come up with their signature mobile wallet payment solutions: Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. These companies use NFC (near-field communication) technology to fuel their payment systems, which is a method of wireless data transfer that detects and enables close-by technology to communicate without the need for an internet connection. This connection is fast, easy and convenient, and it’s catching on with consumers everywhere.
Apple Pay is the mobile payment app that, no surprise, can be downloaded and installed on iPhones and iPads. If you’re looking for the easiest way to make a payment to an online casino, for instance, and you have an iPhone, look for a site that features Apple Pay betting and funding your account is just a matter of a few taps on your screen. After you download the Apple Pay app, you enter your credit card or bank account number, and you can start making deposits via your smartphone. Alternatively, you can take a picture of your credit card and upload that into Apple Pay, perhaps the easiest way to go about the whole thing.
To keep the process secure, Apple uses a two-factor authentication method. After you enter your passcode and it is accepted, the “end user” confirms its identity using Apple’s fingerprint recognition program. Once your credit card is approved, your device will be assigned a DAN (a device account number), which in turn is used to generate security codes that are different for every transaction.
Apple Pay was launched in 2014 for use on assorted iOS devices, iPhones, iPads, and the Apple Watch. Obviously, in addition to security and technology, the most important part of using Apple Pay is that the establishment you’re trying to pay – the restaurant, the department store, or the online casino – supports the Apple Pay mobile wallet; otherwise, your efforts will be fruitless. However, the list of credit cards and banks that let you use Apple Pay is impressive and includes Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, and CitiBank, to name but a few, and payment is accepted here at home as well as many countries such as Canada, China, France, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, and Russia. Online casinos that accept payment via Apple Pay include 888 and bet365, and many well-known retailers and shops do as well including Boots, Costa, Superdrug, and Waitrose. Should you be travelling to New York, you can even buy a ticket with Apple Pay on the Long Island Rail Road!
Google Pay is the mobile wallet payment system that can be used on Android phones, and it combines payments in Google Wallet with the functionality of Android Pay. (In other words, Google has recently folded Android Pay into Google Wallet). Google Pay allows you to store your credit card information in your Android smartphone, enabling easy payments to retail outlets across the Internet. Like Apple Pay, Google Pay works via NFC technology and the mobile wallet can be used for all Android devices, including phones, tablets and watches.
With the Google Pay system, your credit card information is stored on your device and tokens are used to protect your data during transactions. These security tokens are generated in the Cloud rather than on your device (like with Apple Pay). If your phone has a fingerprint sensor, Google Pay can use it to confirm payment; if not, you can use a passcode. The platform works with major credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover as well as with some of the world’s biggest banks, including Chase, Citibank and Bank of America. You can use Google Pay abroad in Australia, Ireland, Japan, Hong Kong and New Zealand. Google Pay can be used at many of the same shops as Apple Pay.
Samsung and Apple have long been going head-to-head for every consumer dollar and Samsung has launched its Samsung Pay mobile wallet solution to compete with Apple Pay. What is unique about Samsung Pay is that not only does it work with NFC, but it also works on regular magnetic-strip terminals and readers that are used for chip-based credit card transactions. This feature means it can be used almost anywhere that credit and debit cards are accepted. Samsung Pay works with the newer Galaxy devices, such as the Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S9, S8, S7, and S6 lines of devices.
Similar to other mobile wallets, to use Samsung Pay you just enter your credit card information into the Samsung Pay app. When you get to the retail location or Samsung Pay casino where you want to make a payment, you open Samsung Pay and swipe up from the bottom of the screen to choose the card and verify the payment via fingerprint sensor or PIN number. In a physical retail location, the final step is to place the back of your phone on the card reader or NFC device, and, when the payment is finalized, you will get a notification confirming the seller and the purchase amount. In an online casino that allows Samsung Pay gambling, the process is even easier with Samsung Pass, which stores your info and then lets you log in to your accounts with fingerprint, so you don’t need to enter individual passwords for each service.
Like Apple Pay and Google Pay, Samsung Pay uses tokens for security. With each transaction your mobile device sends a 16-digit “token”, which stands in for your credit card number, plus a one-time code that is generated by the smartphones encryption key. Samsung Pay can be used with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, and with banks such as HSBC, Starling Bank, and Santander. Samsung Pay can be used in the UK, US, and worldwide, including countries such as China, Australia, Spain, Brazil, Russia, and Canada.
With mobile wallets taking over everywhere, the online gaming industry is jumping in to allow funding by these mobile platforms. Along with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay, the systems that let users pay with their phone bills are ramping up in terms of popularity. One of the leading companies is Boku, which allows users to make payments on their mobile phone bill. This means that making your next bet at an online casino can be as easy as paying your next smartphone bill. Other systems that allow payment via your phone bill, such as Payforit and Siru, are also great alternatives to credit cards, especially for online and mobile casino users.
In order to use these phone-bill-based systems the next time you visit an online casino, you will need an account with a wireless carrier. While not every online casino site accepts mobile payment methods, many do. After you set up your phone and your account to allow for mobile payments, go to the banking section of the site to make a deposit. As one of the leaders in the field, Boku will probably be a listed option, but Siru and Payforit are up-and-comers, and you’ll find several casinos that accept them as funding methods as well.
Boku and similar systems are great if you don’t like the idea of inputting your banking or credit card information. By charging payments – at retails locations and online casinos – to your phone bill, you can have worry-free transactions and one-stop payments.
Until recently, banks, credit card companies and other institutions have been the intermediaries in all our financial transactions. The system worked… to a point. These institutions had access to our money and data, and the danger is that their systems could be hacked and our information could be accessed. It has happened, and it could easily happen again.
Blockchain technology, on the other hand, is basically a peer-to-peer network of computers that does away with the need for an intermediary like a bank. We’ve all heard of Bitcoin, but Bitcoin is a product and blockchain is the technology. Bitcoin is digital money, and it was the first successful blockchain product; blockchain is the technology that enables currency like Bitcoin.
Establishing “consensus” is the foundation of blockchain technology; this is different than confirming data. Instead, users verify and time stamp transactions, forming a “public” of widespread computers and terminals. Once data is validated by one link in the network chain, the transaction is added to a “block,” thus forming the blockchain, which is sent to the entire network. Blockchains, like Bitcoin, are considered secure and safe, though with recent hacking issues with some cryptocurrencies, the assumption may need to time-tested a bit. Whether completely hackproof or not, cryptos and their payment methods seem to be here to stay; after all, Bitcoin is often referred to as digital gold: as safe and secure as that other valuable commodity.
Today, some major online and mobile casinos accept payment methods like Apple Pay, Google/Android Pay, and Samsung Pay, though many more accept payments that come through on phone bills. Paying by these systems is the ultimate convenience and boosts the mobility factor of gambling on smartphones, tablets or any mobile devices. Users like these methods – and their popularity is ever on the rise – because of speed, security, and ease of use; with mobile wallets, players don’t have to relay personal information or banking details, something than tends to make members nervous when they register with a new site.
However, the use of handy and quick mobile wallets at online casinos is not without drawbacks. There are usually daily limits for these types of payments, which may be fine for most players but not for high rollers. In addition, lurking behind any “easy” online casino payment method is the danger of addiction and the more convenient the method, the easier it will be for risk-takers to go overboard, only to discover, for instance, that their mobile phone bill is inflated way beyond their expectations.
As the world leans toward more digital means of conducting business transactions, the use of mobile wallets is expected to rise as well. Using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay for online betting, for instance, is speedy and straightforward, and it is unparalleled in terms of convenience. Payments can be made and processed in just a matter of seconds, as opposed to the time it could take when your credit card is used in traditional ways. Security concerns are fewer (though blockchain technology still trumps mobile wallets in terms of safety), leading to fewer hassles and headaches with financial transactions on sites like online casinos and land-based retail sites everywhere.