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Mobile payments with smartphones is booming – but how does it work?

Mobiel betalen met smartphones beeld in winkelstraat retail vandaag

Mobile payments with smartphones is booming – but how does it work?

Mobile payment is increasing in popularity and we are being daily reminded. Most of us have long forgotten dad’s big wallet. While e-commerce is being controlled by wireless and online transaction for some time now, it is still not the case in physical shops. The quick rise of mobile terminals and smartphone applications comes with some changes. Paying with a smartphone is booming and is developing super-fast.


The first mobile phone

The first mobile phone had the same size as a brick, had an antenna and you could only call for a couple of minutes. In 1994, more than 10 years later, the first smartphone was launched. Now, you were able to call, email, and play games but we could not call it ‘smart’.  Nowadays the smartphone is an essential part of our lives, we always carry it around and no longer need a traditional computer which is not illogical because the smartphone can do the same things as a computer and fits in your pocket, just like your wallet.


When your smartphone becomes your wallet

The wallet, full of cards, has been replaced by apps that handle our purchases wherever we are. Banks contribute enormously and provide concrete and effective solutions for consumers. New players have reinvented the payment traffic and is aimed on payment on the place of the purchase (a restaurant, at the movies, in the shop) or between users.


Now, there are two ways to pay with your smartphone: NFC and QR code


Near-Field Communication (NFC)

What is necessary:

To be able to pay with NFC, your phone as well as the paying terminal in the shop need to have the Near Field Communication technology. NFC is a method that is able to exchange data on a short distance and has a 10cm range. It’s often seen as an extension of radio frequency identification (RFID).


Aside from that you need a payment app that allows you to pay with your smartphone such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or your bank’s app. iPhone is an exception here because it does not allow other ‘wallets’ so it’s only possible to pay with Apple Pay. A ‘wallet’ is your app’s digital wallet in which you can add cards.)


How does that work?

Paying with your smartphone is very simple: you keep your phone against the paying terminal and the payment is done. It’s the same as paying contactless with your debit card but without using a PIN code. If the amount exceeds £25, your bank may request a PIN code.


Quick response code (QR code)

What’s necessary?

Another way to pay with your smartphone is with the QR code. It’s like a more complex or advanced bar code. Unlike a regular bar code there is no limit on the number of characters so a QR can contain thousands of characters or numbers.


How does that work?

First, you have to download the Bancontact app or your own bank’s app. Than you link your current account to the app and you’re ready to pay with your smartphone.

The shop needs to have a QR code to be able to pay with your phone.

 When you want to pay with your phone, follow these steps:

Scan the QR code > enter your PIN code or password > your payment is processed > you get a confirmation on your phone




Using QR codes is possible on every phone that can download apps and has a camera



What does the future looks like?

It’s still surprising to see what we are able to do with our smartphone and we haven’t reached its limits yet. The Bancontact app is experimenting with window shopping. Imagine walking through a shopping street and you see a cute messenger bag in the shopping window: you scan the QR code, pay through the app and the article is being shipped to your house or you reserve it to pick up in the shop.






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Peter De Ranter

Auteur Peter De Ranter is sinds 1999 actief in de retailsector en CEO van Tilroy. Hij begrijpt als geen ander wat er nodig is om retailer en groothandel te transformeren naar het digitale tijdperk. Met de software van Tilroy worden de beste concepten in omnichannel retail met de meest recente technologieën gebundeld. Omniconnected zijn is volgens Peter de beste manier om succesvol te zijn en retailers zouden via elk beschikbaar kanaal verbinding moeten maken met de consument.