If you haven’t tried in a while Tap-to-pay seems workable. Finally.

Nearly a decade ago we covered some of the first tap your phone on a credit card reader to pay implementation in the United States, and when last we checked in 2018 it was still pretty hit or miss.

2018 and 2019 saw me pay using my phone more and more with markedly non-uniform experiences. From payment terminals locking up, to “oh you gotta unlock me now even though I was already unlocked and now let’s just not work for no evident reason, hope you brought a card”.

I realized that last year I didn’t have any issues other than a terminal where the NFC was busted, and that it has been a good amount of time since tapping my phone to a reader downed the payment processing system requiring a reboot (yes, this happened twice.)

This year the whole “you gotta unlock even though you’re unlocked” has uniformly worked. It only took them a decade to reach a smooth experience.

At this point also, with credit card skimmers, card cloning, etc, it’s been in use a really long run and I’ve heard of nobody getting their info stolen from a tap to pay / phone being taken. Pretty hard considering that even if they cloned the card number Google gives them it’s a one-time use, and required biometric or passcode unlock to produce. If you’ve heard of it, point me toward a story.

I still see people holding their phones, digging through wallets, purses, and the like looking for a card. My wife won’t set it up because she got to watch what happened to me from 2012-2018 with terminal after terminal of crappy experiences, even though she’s left her credit card at home and been stuck at the store sans method of payment twice now. That’s how bad the experience had been.

Downing a terminal with a fairly long line of people behind you tends to be remembered by others.

What’s your experience been? I’ve removed most of the cards from my real wallet (I work for a couple of places that I have cards for, deal with 3 banks I have to have a card on me for for deposits, etc) I can select them in the app if I need, and if someone takes my phone and wallet I’ve now only got one card that has to be deactivated.

I’m not really sure what the iPhone side’s experience has been. I rarely see anyone pay by phone, but then again watching people’s monetary transactions has not been something I’ve engaged in.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts