Yes, really just your phone! No need to pull out any credit card at all. This is done simply with Softcard. Just look for the symbol on the credit card terminals at the register when you shop. Open up the app and tap your phone to the machine. Paid! I have been using Softcard myself for a couple of months now on my Verizon Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phone (disclosure: I am a Verizon #VZWBuzz ambassador and receive compensation) and it is very convenient and easy.
There is just a little bit of setup involved before you can start paying this way. I promise you it is not complicated but it will take you a little bit of time. You need a compatible Android device (there are lots of them) and an enhanced SIM card. I actually started using this when I was on a blogging trip and set it up in less than 10 minutes during a break in the meetings and used it right away.
- Download Softcard from the Google Play store and install it.
- When you open the app for the first time it will let you know if you need to get the Enhanced SIM Card. If you need to get one go to your local Verizon Wireless store (not an “authorized retailer though as they charge fees) and they will get you the right SIM card and it should be at no cost. If the app lets you proceed that means you already have the right type of SIM card.
- Set up your Softcard account including a PIN number that you will enter each time you want to tap to pay.
- Add your cards. You can use a few different bank credit cards, but if you do not have any of the ones listed select OTHER CARD and set up a free American Express Serve card which is not a credit card but a prepaid debit card kind of thing. You can set up the Serve account to connect to any credit card or bank account you want. I have my Serve account connected to my PayPal account actually so it is super easy to transfer money.
- Make sure you have NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled on your smartphone. This is how your phone “talks” to the credit card terminal.
- Next time you are shopping look for the tap to pay symbol, open up Softcard, enter your pin, and tap to pay. You will get an onscreen confirmation of your purchase.
Softcard uses a “Secure Element” which is a dedicated hardware component included in your smartphone. It keeps your payment card info and operates independently from the rest of your phone and limits access to only authorized applications, like Softcard.
As I mentioned you also have a PIN number associated with your Softcard account that you have to enter to limit unauthorized access. If your smartphone is lost or stolen call your wireless carrier or visit the Softcard website to have the app disabled.
Softcard In-App Special Offers
Be sure to regularly check the special offers in the Softcard app. They have free items, cash back offers, and some pretty significant discounts at retailers.
Where To Use Softcard
I’m noticing more and more locations being added where I can pay with Softcard. Places I have done tap to pay include Walgreens, Subway, Petco, McDonald’s, and Sports Authority and there are plenty of others. Check out the locations near you on the Softcard Where to Pay page.
Special Offer – Get a $20 Gift Card!
From now through October 31, 2014 you can get a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card just by setting up your Softcard account and adding a participating credit card and tap to pay at least once before the end of October. When you do Softcard will email you a $20 Amazon.com Gift Card to say thanks!
I really do enjoy the convenience of Softcard and have found myself actively searching for the tap to pay symbol when I shop lately. Several of my friends are using it as well and they all say the same thing, it is easy and convenient.
Do you use Softcard? Are you considering using it? Why or why not?