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Bottom Line Up Front

  • Enhanced mobile wallets and contactless mobile payment technology make it easier than ever to make purchases that are safe and secure. 
  • Mobile wallets mask your card number, and it’s never stored on your device or shared with merchants, ensuring your information is protected.

Time to Read

3 minutes

April 29, 2022

The way consumers pay is changing—both in-store and online. Enhanced mobile wallets and contactless mobile payment technology now make it easier than ever to make purchases. Here’s what you need to know about making fast, secure payments at home or on the go.

Tap to Pay

Contactless card technology allows you to make a purchase quickly, easily and securely with a simple tap at most popular merchants and retailers. 

How It Works

Just look for the Contactless Symbol1 at checkout, then hover your debit card or credit card (issuers include Visa®, Mastercard® and American Express®) just above the card reader to pay—your card doesn’t even have to touch! 

Why It’s Secure

Like regular chip cards, contactless payments are encrypted thanks to a small chip implanted in your card. 

Not sure if you have a contactless payment card? Simply check your card for the Contactless Symbol with 4 curved lines, which can be found on the front or back of your card. 

Mobile Wallets

Much like a physical wallet, a mobile wallet* or digital wallet is a single place to store your credit cards and debit cards. The main difference is that a mobile wallet lives on your smart device or mobile phone in the form of an app. To use your mobile wallet in stores, you need an Android™2 device with an Android Pay™ app installed (such as Google Pay® or Samsung Pay®3), an iPhone®4 with Apple Pay® or a smartwatch. These are just a few of the most popular mobile wallet providers. To get started, simply add a debit card or credit card to the app as your preferred payment method. To pay using a mobile app, all you do is wave your smartphone above the merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) terminal card reader and that’s it. 

To use your mobile device to make contactless payments, your device must have contactless communications technologies, specifically radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and near-field communication (NFC) technology. Both RFID and NFC technology power contactless payments via mobile wallets and contactless credit and debit cards. 

How It Works

Your mobile device securely masks and communicates your debit or credit card number with the card payment system, or POS terminal, when placed close together. To get started: 

  • Add your credit or debit card information to your device’s mobile wallet app. This can be done via manual typing or even taking a secure picture.
  • For in-store purchases, hover your device just over the card POS payment terminal. You may be asked to submit biometrics by scanning your finger or entering a passcode to approve the transaction. This is used with Apple Pay through the Touch ID® or Face ID® authorization. 

Why It’s Secure

Like contactless payment cards, mobile wallets mask your card number, and it’s never stored on your device or shared with merchants. Plus, by requiring a fingerprint, passcode or other authenticator, this prevents thieves from easily getting into your device and potentially using any cards stored on it. 

In addition to the security features offered by these services, Navy Federal Credit Cards and Debit Cards always come with 24/7 fraud monitoring and Zero Liability protection, meaning you won’t lose a cent if there are unauthorized transactions on your card. And when you use mobile banking,* you can set account alerts and view your transactions anytime, anywhere.

Key Takeaways Key Takeaways


1The Contactless Symbol is a trademark owned by and used with permission of EMVCo, LLC.

2Andriod, Android Pay and Google Pay are trademarks of Google LLC.

3Samsung Pay is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

4iPhone, Apple Pay, Touch ID and Face ID are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

This content is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.