Nearly everything has gone mobile these days with people actually buying more mobile phones than computers in the last couple of years.

That massive transition to mobile has come with new functionality like mobile payments. If you haven’t had a chance to use mobile payments yet, you should know how they work and why they’re worth using.

How Mobile Payments Work

In 2015, the U.S. government surveyed the population and found that 22% of all mobile phone users had made a mobile payment in the past year, but we’re specifically talking about in-store payments.

A new technology called NFC (near-field communication) basically allows two devices to exchange data when placed closely together (usually the distance of a few centimeters). Both devices must have an NFC chip in order for this to function.

In the case of mobile payments, we’re specifically talking about phones or smart devices with NFC chips exchanging payment information to credit card terminals that also have NFC chips.

Why Use Mobile Payments

Credit card cloning and security breaches have become more common, and it’s one reason that consumers and retailers are beginning to transition to mobile payments.

Target, Macy’s, and Walgreens are a few that have taken the leap into the mobile payment stratosphere with contactless pay terminals in their retail locations. Besides security, convenience is a big selling point when it comes to mobile payments as consumers don’t even need to carry a wallet or card to make a purchase, just their phone.

Phones That Support Mobile Payments

Not all phones have NFC chips built in, but most new phones are incorporating the technology.

For Apple users, you can go as far back as the iPhone 6 models and use the mobile payment technology. If you use Android, you’ll find NFC capabilities on devices like the Nexus 4 onwards, Galaxy 3 onwards, and Note 2 onwards.

Mobile payments still make up a relatively small fraction of overall in-store transactions, but that trend is expected to grow as the push to mobile continues.