phone in hand showing payment successful

28 Jul 2023

Everything you need to know about payment apps

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What are payment apps?

Mobile payment apps turn your smartphone or wearable device into a digital wallet.

By storing funds in a wallet on your iOS or Android device, payment apps make it easy to send and receive funds without entering your card details.

Some of these apps do more than just payments. With Skrill, you can buy and sell crypto, transfer money abroad or exchange currencies too.

hand holding phone with Skrill app

How do payment apps work?

Most payment apps are funded in one of two ways – by linking an existing bank account or debit card to the app for funds to be deducted, or by directly depositing money to the app.

You can start using a payment app soon after downloading it – the setup takes minutes and there’s no waiting around for a card to be delivered. Once you’ve linked the app to your bank account or made a deposit of funds, you can start spending and receiving money straight away.

How have they evolved?

Woman paying with phone

Believe it or not, mobile payment was used for the first time in 1997, when Coca-Cola brought out a vending machine that allowed customers to buy their drink with an SMS message.

From that point, the technology kept moving forward. In 2011, Barclay’s partnered with Orange to launch the first contactless mobile payment product in Europe. Customers could add up to £100 in funds to their phone and make payments of up to £15.

The same year, Google became the first major company to offer a virtual mobile wallet: the Google Wallet. This was the first time that people could use their phones to pay in stores. Apple Pay followed three years later.

The tech has now evolved so much that dozens of mobile payment apps are offering instant, hassle-free and secure payments in person, online and internationally.

What are the benefits of using a payment app?

There are lots of reasons why you might choose to use a payment app instead of traditional banking methods, such as:

  • Security – advanced security features, such as encryption, tokenisation and two-factor authentication protect your financial information.
  • Cost-effectiveness – most apps offer lower fees than traditional banks.
  • Accessibility – payment apps are widely accepted, and many of them support multiple currencies and languages.
  • Convenience – make effortless online payments or use contactless to tap and pay in stores.
  • Speed – transactions are instant so you can send and receive money more quickly.

How to choose a payment app

Many people choose to use a payment app for the speed, ease and security it offers. There’s a variety of payment apps available, each with different benefits. Choosing the best one for you depends on your specific wants and needs.

Factors and features to compare when choosing your payment app provider include:

  • Person-to-person payments: Can you send money to a friend or family member?
  • Online payments: Can you use your funds to pay at a range of websites? 
  •  Loyalty programmes: Will you be rewarded for using the app?
  •  International payments: Can you transfer money overseas at good rates?
  •  Fund tracking: Is it easy to see a history of your transactions?
  •  Fees: For which transactions will you pay a fee?
  •  Cash withdrawals: Can you access your funds as cash e.g. via a card linked to your account?

The Skrill app: your money on the move

The Skrill app is used and trusted by millions of people worldwide to make secure, fast and easy payments.

With a Skrill account, you can:

  • Fund your account by card, bank transfer, or with a range of local payment options.
  • Get a prepaid card linked to your account for instant access to your balance online, in stores, or as cash at ATMs.*
  • Send money to overseas bank accounts at great rates.
  • Hold and exchange multiple currencies in one account.
  • Manage your money on the go with real-time notifications whenever you spend or send money.
  • Pay online at popular sports, gaming, and trading websites with no links to your bank account.
  • Request money from someone who doesn’t have a Skrill account by sending them a link to pay you.
  • Buy, hold and sell over 40 cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.**
  • Earn loyalty points and exchange them for cash rewards.

Download the Skrill app today to take your money digital.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store

*The Skrill Visa® Prepaid Card is limited to residents of the United States of America. The Skrill Prepaid Mastercard® is limited to residents of the EEA and the UK.

**Cryptocurrencies are unregulated in the UK. Capital Gains Tax or other taxes may apply. The value of investments is variable and can go down as well as up.

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