For a while now, a payment method has been available which uses an NFC system on your mobile to effectively turn it into a bank card. All you need is a mobile which is compatible with the NFC system.
But what exactly is NFC?
NFC stands for Near Field Communication. What that represents in reality is essentially a form of technology enabling wireless communication and the exchange of information between two devices positioned within 20cm of each other.
Seizing on the possibilities that this technology offers, banking institutions have managed to convert mobiles into replacements for conventional bank cards. This is the case at HolaBank and their service called CaixaBankPay. You simply need to download the application and, if you are a HolaBank customer and you have an active card, you can begin using it right away. In my opinion, the app is very secure. There are a number of security steps which can be activated or deactivated by the user, in other words you can configure a higher level of security if you wish, but with more security the ease of use decreases.
For example, at the highest level you have to log into the app each for every use with your open line details and deactivate the app once you have paid. Personally speaking, I leave it permanently active, as in order to pay the NFC has to be turned on and I deactivate that after every use, obviously to activate it again the screen has to be unlocked using my pattern or pin.
In many shops, when you pay with your mobile you’re met with a blank expression, but I think this system is safer than carrying cards around with you as your card numbers remain hidden, for instance.
It is also worth knowing that all the cards added to the CaixaBank app are covered by CaixaBankProtect which protects you against fraud or card theft. Two months ago, I was in Guatemala with two friends, we all had our cards with us. Well, I found out two months later that money had been taken from not one but both of their accounts. They reported it and it was dealt with. I imagine that their cards were cloned, perhaps in an ATM or somewhere they really shouldn’t have handed them over… Since that incient, I learnt that with the digital bank CaixaBankNow and in the section labelled Cards > Control of Use, I can control the types of transaction that my card can be used for in a secure way.
I’ve been using CaixaBankPay for a short time, but I’m completely convinced that I would struggle to go back to using plastic cards.