Emerging mobile payment wars: Softcard vs. Apple pay

Recently, there was a big deal made of the new Apple mobile pay option, called Apple Pay, which was available with the iPhone 6. That’s pretty cool, but it’s a little late to the party, in my opinion, for smartphone payment options. I have been using Softcard on my Samsung Galaxy 4 for quite a while now. There are some differences of course between the phones, such as the iPhone’s fingerprint security feature, but fundamentally, the payment technology, using Near Field Communication (NFC), is the same. But, I get it. It’s a Google vs. Apple vs. Samsung type of thing.

What I have been enjoying for the past several months is the $1 off (in the form of a statement credit) for all of my purchases I make with my mobile phone using the Softcard card. The promotion is good for up to $50/month and will last until the end of the year, which has been awesome. For example, I have purchased water for free at CVS after the rebate on many occasions. Free money! They have other promotions as well, such as discounts at restaurants and retailers.

Mobile wars

mobile

n Photo credit: CNET

What remains to be seen to be seen is if there will be a fight between Apple and Samsung (they don’t like each other, FYI) in which we can all benefit in the form of incentives thrown our way to win us over. Will Apple also have a $1 statement credit promotion to try to steal Samsung’s business? That would be cool. Since my wife has an iPhone, I will just use her phone to get the deal if/when Softcard’s promo runs out.

Apple is set to roll out their mobile payment option this month to several retailers. It will be interesting to see what the response is.

The bottom line is, at least for a short time still, Softcard users can benefit for adapting the NFC mobile payment option when they make a purchase.

Free identity theft protection from AAA

identity theft

Photo credit: AAA

Identity theft is all over the news lately. Major retailers, such as Target, Jimmy Johns Sandwiches, Home Depot, and many more have reported breeches. Doesn’t build much confidence that your information is safe. Fortunately, there is good news, and another reason why buying an American Automobile Association (AAA) membership is worth it, even if you don’t have a car.

This past week, I received an email from them announcing that they have partnered with ProtectyID, an Experian credit monitoring and identity protection service. This $79 value, free for AAA customers, comes with excellent basic credit monitoring features, such as daily credit monitoring, lost wallet assistance, and identity theft insurance ($10k). If you want to see your credit score, and receive additional theft insurance, that costs ~ $9/month. I am not sure if it’s worth it. But, if you are such a high roller that you need $1m in identity insurance, then you probably aren’t a reader of my blog :).

Check for identity theft and get free credit scores

Since the free identity protection service doesn’t provide you with a credit score, you will either have to pay for it separately, or you can dial up your Free Credit Report. Now, be careful here. We probably have seen a ton of free credit report commercials, but they are not “free.” The only no-cost, truly free credit report that the credit agencies are obligated by Federal law to provide you annually is at the link above. You can pull your credit report from the three bureaus in one shot, but you might want to stagger them instead. That way, you can get your credit score every four months. For example, in January, pull your Transunion report. In May, pull your Equifax one, etc. That way, if there’s a drop in your credit score, or potential identity theft, you can adjust as necessary that much sooner.