The use of smartphones has become so widespread that, according to data from Statista, 63% of online users made purchases from their mobile devices. The figure is from 2018 and it not only shows an increase, but it also supports the fact that this type of device is fundamental in our daily lives and it is with us from the moment we wake up until we go to bed.

Do you know how to make secure mobile payments? What technology is used and how can you protect your transactions?

Most bank cards, both debit and credit, already let you make contactless payments, just by placing the card close to the point of sale (POS) terminal, using the contactless technology. Using them has become an everyday occurrence. But, in addition, the use of mobile phones as a payment method in establishments has become especially important in recent years. To use this method, both your smartphone and the establishment must meet a number of requirements that are becoming increasingly common.

How do I pay with my mobile phone?

  • Paying using mobile phone contactless technology:
  • The mobile must have an NFC chip (Near Field Communication), the name given to the technology that allows information to be exchanged by proximity.
  • Set up your bank debit or credit cards in the pre-defined payment app on your mobile. In the case of Banco Santander cards, the following applications can be used:
    • Apple Pay: if your phone is an iPhone or if you have an Apple Watch, iPad or Mac if you browse in Safari.
    • Samsung Pay: if you have a modern Samsung mobile phone.
    • Google Pay: if you have an Android device with an operating system version 5.0 or higher.
  • The establishment's POS must have contactless technology. Most shops in Spain already have this type of terminal.
  • When paying, all you have to do is unlock your phone and move it near the establishment's POS terminal with contactless technology. Depending on the configuration of the payment application, it may be necessary to open it and select the payment option (select card if there are several and execute payment) from within it. There is no need for the smartphone and the POS to be in contact with each other, just place them within four centimetres or less of each other.
  • The transaction will be automatically completed if the purchase amount is less than 20 euros. Following the Covid-19 Pandemic, it was decided to raise this amount to 50 euros, but we do not know if it will be maintained, although the companies and some EU countries are in favour of making this measure definitive. When making payments with Samsung Pay or Apple Pay, you will always need to provide authentication (biometric fingerprint or user security code) to activate and make the payment, regardless of the amount.
Other payment methods using your mobile phone


Is a service that allows money to be sent and received, between individuals, donations to NGOs and payments in e-commerce to be made, all instantly and without needing to know the account number of the beneficiary. To send money through Bizum all you need to do is activate the service and accept the terms and conditions (in the case of Banco Santander within the Santander App or Online Banking), choose a contact from your mobile, or an NGO by selecting it from those available in the application or identifying it by its code, and indicate the amount you wish to send. To pay with Bizum in e-commerce shops that have this payment method enabled, you just have to indicate your telephone number and include the Bizum code provided by your bank. It is a safe method backed by most Spanish banks.


It is also possible to connect bank cards to other mobile devices such as smartwatch, Fitbit, Ionic and Garmin. To do this, you will need to correctly configure the watch app on your mobile phone, which we show you how to do on the pages about Fitbit Pay and Garmin Pay. Payment in this case is made when the device is moved close to the POS.

Is it safe to pay via your mobile phone?

Transactions or payments are always made securely, as the data is sent in an encrypted format. They are also free of charge for the user, and the user does not incur any additional costs when making purchases, as there are no fees for paying with a smartphone or any of the other devices mentioned above. This service works in the same way as your bank cards.

The OSI (Internet User Security Office) emphasises the security of this payment system. Even in the event of theft or loss of the mobile phone, if we have it blocked with a PIN code, fingerprint or facial recognition it will be difficult for someone to access the device. Depending on the configuration of your mobile, it will be necessary to unlock the initial screen to access the application menu and therefore the payment and authentication method.

Security tips

We recommend following some basic security guidelines to keep your personal data safe. These are common recommendations that involve careful use of your electronic devices:

  • Keep your operating and antivirus systems up to date.
  • Deactivate the NFC whenever it is not in use.
  • Avoid connections over public or unsecured networks.
  • Use a secure screen lock with a strong PIN, a complicated pattern or fingerprint / facial identification.
  • Block the SIM card with a PIN and avoid using the same number that you use to unlock the screen.
  • The OCU, also recommends deactivating the system and removing the cards if it is given to a third party, for example for repairs.

Paying by mobile phone using various applications or banking services is already a common trend. Users value the immediacy and speed of payment and the convenience.

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