Nearly every day I am confronted with the fact that I am a rarity, the last of a dying breed. I am someone who still regularly uses cash to make purchases.

In today’s society, that makes me a dinosaur. Mobile technology has driven advancements in the payments industry that are making it easier and easier to make purchases without ever opening your wallet.

The plethora of options doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone is on board. According to data collected by 451 Research, many users are still uneasy when it comes to mobile payments due to security concerns. Still, the technology is moving forward and more vendors are accepting mobile payments everyday.

If you want to get started with mobile payments, you have to first understand all your options. Here are 12 of the top mobile payment systems available.

Google Wallet

One of the first major NFC-based payment systems, Google Wallet was released back in September 2011. You can use Google Wallet to make purchases online or in a store, and send money to friends and family. Some have argued that it will be overtaken by Apple Pay, but that may not be the case. In fact, Google recently acquired intellectual property (IP) from Softcard to better compete.

Apple Pay

Apple Pay debuted alongside the iPhone 6 in late 2014. Users with an iPhone 6 or later, or an Apple Watch, register existing credit or debit cards with the service and use it to make payments with one of those cards. To use Apple Pay, you place your device near a reader and place your finger on the fingerprint scanner to quickly make a purchase.


Known as the go-to payment system for eBay, PayPal also has a pretty useful mobile app. Users can snap a picture of a credit or debit card to add it to their account and make purchases or send money straight from their phone. PayPal has integrations with Uber, Airbnb, and StubHub for convenient payments.

Square Cash

Square Cash is a mobile payment option that allows users to create a unique username known as a $Cashtag. According to the Square Cash website, users can tweet out their $Cashtag for donations, or use it to pay their rent. You can also use it to pay someone for their services or simply send them some money.


A web and mobile payment system that is “built for developers,” Stripe offers a host of tools and APIs to customize it for you or your business. Users can accept Bitcoin through Stripe. Additionally Stripe is integrated with companies such as Lyft, Instacart, and Postmates.


Dwolla is a payment network for moving money. It doesn’t require a credit or debit card, rather, it connects directly to your checking account. Use an email address to transfer money for $0.25 per transaction. Or, if the transaction is $10 or less, it’s free. Only one party pays the fee and you can use it to send money to people even if they don’t have a Dwolla account.


Vodafone launched M-Pesa back in 2007. It allows users to deposit or withdraw money, transfer money, and make payments with their mobile phone. The actual account for the money is stored on the user’s phone, and they use secure SMS messages to send money or make payments. The transactions carry a small fee as well. Very popular in some African markets, M-Pesa is huge in Kenya where the service first launched.


Connect your bank account or debit card to send payments with Venmo. According to the company’s website, it’s always free to receive money through Venmo and most of the time it is free to send money, depending on what credit card or debit card you’re using. Sign up with Facebook or by using an email address.

Lifelock Wallet

After purchasing Lemon Wallet, Lifelock created the Lifelock Wallet. It acts as a cloud storage system for all the cards you’d normally see in a wallet. Your ID, insurance card, loyalty cards, and payment cards are all stored and accessed through the app. The app touts Lifelock’s security protection and users can access their credit score through the app for $.99.

Samsung Pay

After acquiring the company LoopPay, Samsung will fold its Samsung Wallet to be replaced by Samsung Pay. A technology known as Magnetic Secure Transmission is embedded in Samsung’s Galaxy S6 and S6 edge, and it allows users to pay with their phone at a standard magnetic stripe reader. The service was only recently announced and will likely launch this summer.

What do you think?

Do you use a mobile payment system? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments.