How to tap and pay with your phone

If you own a smartphone, you probably already have the ability to make payments with it even if you’ve never done it before. Keep reading to learn how to set up your mobile device and link your Capital One card so you can tap and pay with your phone.

Key takeaways

  • To pay with your phone, you’ll need a digital wallet like Apple Pay®, Google Pay™ or Samsung Pay®.

  • Like contactless cards, phone payments use encryption to help make transactions more secure.

  • You can use your phone to tap and pay wherever you see the contactless payment symbol.

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How to use your phone to tap and pay

Using your phone to pay in store or make payments online is relatively easy, but there are a few steps you need to take to set up tap-to-pay on your phone for the first time.

While the exact steps may differ slightly depending on whether you use an iOS or Android device, the general setup should be relatively similar across various mobile phone brands.

1. Set up your digital wallet

A digital wallet stores your payment information and allows you to pay with your phone in stores. You likely already have a digital wallet on your phone. If not, you can visit the app store to download the wallet supported by your phone’s operating system. iPhone users can use Apple Pay, while Android users can use Google Pay or Samsung Pay if they have a Samsung-branded phone.

2. Add your card and set your preferred payment method

Before you can use your digital wallet to make payments with your phone, you’ll need to add and save a payment method such as a Capital One credit card or debit card. Depending on which payment app you’re using, you might need to enter your card number by hand or you might be able to take a photo of your card to have your card details automatically imported.

From there, you’ll need to follow any authentication prompts you get to verify your identity. Once your card details have been verified, you can set it as your default payment method within the app if you choose. For certain digital wallets, customers may be able to add their cards from right within the Capital One Mobile app.

3. Tap and pay at checkout

You can pay with your phone in stores anywhere you see the contactless symbol. To use your phone to make a payment, just tap or hold your device over the card reader and wait until you see a check mark or a “done” icon to confirm the payment went through.

You might also be prompted to first verify your identity by completing an additional security step. Depending on what type of digital wallet you use and your individual security settings, this might include using Face ID (specific to those with an iPhone), a fingerprint or entering your passcode.

You can also use your digital wallet to pay for purchases online by selecting it as a payment option at checkout. The app can import your personal information, saving you from having to manually enter your card number.

Tap-to-Pay FAQ

Read on for answers to some frequently asked questions about tapping and paying with your phone.

To pay with your phone using your Capital One credit or debit card, simply follow the steps to link your card to your digital wallet. Then, set your Capital One card as your preferred payment method. Linking your Capital One card is a great way to ensure you continue to earn rewards on purchases made with your phone.

Speed isn’t the only benefit of using a digital wallet to pay for things with your phone. Digital wallets also help protect your personal information by using a process called tokenization, which encrypts your card’s details so your actual card number is not shared with merchants. 

Phone payments use NFC—also known as near-field communication—technology to transmit payment information between devices. If NFC isn’t enabled on your phone, you may have to go into your device settings and turn it on manually.

Additionally, your phone may require an updated version of your operating system in order to use contactless payments. If you’re having trouble getting tap-to-pay to work, you may need to update to a more recent version.

Paying with your phone in a nutshell

Using your phone to tap and pay at checkout can be a fast and easy way to make purchases without swiping a credit card or even having your physical wallet on you. Plus, when you check out with your phone, your actual card number is not shared, allowing for transactions that may be more secure than swiping or inserting your card into a credit card reader.

If you’re interested in using tap-to-pay on your phone, explore your options for a digital wallet today and link your Capital One credit card to get started.

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