What’s a mobile wallet? header image

The way we pay for things is changing. More people than ever are choosing to pay using mobile payments, while the number of payments made with cash is going down. In 2009, 58% of all payments were made using cash, falling to 23% in 2019. The Bank of England has said that during the pandemic, people have spent less cash.

As the use of cash declines, people have turned to digital payments and a mobile wallet is a safe and easy way to pay for something, without using cash or a physical card. It couldn’t be simpler to use your smartphone, tablet or smart watch to make a payment, either in a store or online.

Starling offers customers use of a wide range of mobile wallets: Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay.

How do I set up a mobile wallet with Starling?

For Apple Pay or Google Pay, once your Starling personal, business or joint account is open, go to the ‘Card’ section of the app and click ‘Add to Wallet’ - this will add your card to the wallet on your smartphone.

If you want to add your Starling card to your Samsung Pay, FitBit or Garmin Watch, you’ll need to download their own app and follow the instructions.

Why use a mobile wallet?

When you pay using a mobile wallet, there’s no need to find or carry your actual (physical) wallet or purse. Simply bring your smartphone or wear your smart watch.

Mobile wallet payments made in physical shops are contactless and often come with a higher limit than £45, which at the time of publication, is the usual cap when you tap with a physical debit card. The £45 cap is set to rise later in 2021 to £100.

You can add your Starling card to your Apple Pay or Google Pay mobile wallet straight from the Starling app, even before your physical debit card arrives. This is also very useful if your physical card is ever stolen or lost, and you cancel and order a replacement card. As soon as you’ve ordered it, you can re-add your new card to Apple Pay or Google Pay. So you can continue spending, before the physical card arrives in the post.

How do I use my mobile wallet?

Anywhere you see the contactless sign, you can use your mobile wallet to make a quick, easy payment, for example for a weekly grocery shop or a morning coffee. You can also use mobile wallets for contactless payments on buses or the London Underground.

In shops, to pay with Apple Pay on an iPhone, you’ll need to enter your passcode or use Face ID or fingerprint recognition. With Google Pay on an Android phone, for lower amounts, you may not need to unlock your phone to pay with contactless.

Apple Pay and Google Pay can also be used for many websites when online shopping.

Are mobile wallets safe?

When you pay using Apple Pay or Google Pay, your card details are replaced by a token (one-time-use virtual account number) for security. This means that when you pay a merchant, you don’t share your actual card or account number with them. The token cannot be used outside of the mobile wallet, so for example, if someone did get hold of the token on its own, it couldn’t be used by the fraudster to spend at an e-commerce retailer.

If your smartphone is lost or stolen, you can lock or cancel your physical Starling card by calling our Customer Service using the number on the back of your debit card. This will also lock / cancel your card in the mobile wallet. Our team is on hand 24/7 to support you.

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