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How to Pay without Card with Santander

29/07/20 7 min. read

It’s the middle of summer and if you’re not already at the beach, you’re probably packing your suitcase and sun lounger!

If you are the sort of person who just rocks up with their towel and flip-flops, it’s vital that you know about all the ways you can pay using your mobile, smartwatch or other devices, so you can leave your wallet at home.

Ways to Pay without Credit Card:

how to pay without card

1. Mobile Payment 📲

If you’ve got your Smartphone, all your banking operations are available in your pocket. Just make sure that your phone uses NFC technology (Near Field Communication), now, almost all mobiles have NFC. How to check your NFC:

  • iOS: all iPhones after iPhone 6 have NFC.
  • Android: pull down the Quick Settings bar at your screen and look for the NFC icon or go to Settings and type NFC on your search bar directly.

Once you have NFC activated, you have various options to pay with your device:

  1. Use the Santander Wallet app for Android. An app from Santander to access all your cards. All you have to do is download it from the Play Store and log in with your details.  If you don’t have mobile banking set up already, you can request your password here.
  2. Use the Apple Pay payment app on iOS or Samsung Pay on Android, where you can add your Santander and other bank cards, select a predetermined card to use to pay, or select which card you want to use before making each payment.

If you are the cautious type, there are two security options to protect you from thefts by unauthorised devices making micro-payments (under 20€):

  • Deactivate NFC in the mobile itself, which avoids any unwanted interaction with your mobile
  • The second option is via the Wallet app, which allows you to turn on and off payment cards and only activate them when you are going to use them

In any case, we recommend that you take a look at this post where Alfonso Suárez, an expert in mobile payments from Santander, denies three of the most common urban legends regarding mobile payments.

2. Smartwatch Payment ⌚️

The use of smartwatches is becoming ever more popular, and one of the things they allow you to do is make mobile payments.  What could be easier than simply wearing your watch? Many models are waterproof, so they are perfect for wearing to the beach and, although you have to take your mobile along with most of them, they can continue to work without any problems from a considerable distance.

To use your smartwatch you first have to check that your model of watch also has NFC technology. As with smartphones, most of them now have it.

As for the more sporty and Fitbit or Garmin users or for the not-so-sporty…

The payment apps of each provider: Fitbit Pay, Garmin Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay are installed by default on compatible watches. You can make sure by going to the app from your watch. In some cases, you will have to install the App on your smartphone beforehand. Please note that you must have entered a card or payment method in the app on your smartphone and it will be the same.

Every time you want to make a payment, use your smartwatch’s activation command:

  • For Android smartwatches, there are different ways in activating the payment. The most common is to open your app for payments and place the watch above the contactless payment reader.
  • For Apple iWatch all you have to do is double click the side button, also holding the iWatch against the contactless payment reader.

But imagine …the bar only takes cash!

All is not lost, you still have your mobile at hand, and luckily, a branch of Santander is just 500 metres away. So here it’s the third way to pay without credit card 💸

3. Take out cash without your card 🏧

It’s really no problem, if you have your mobile you can make a withdrawal from a cash machine using the Halcash operation that allows you to authorise a transaction at a cash machine without having your credit card to hand.

How does it work? It’s really easy.  You can use your mobile to take out cash as if it were a card (if it has NFC) or you can authorise the transaction and withdraw money using a code.

Take it out using your mobile (or smartwatch’s) NFC:

  1. You need to have the Santander Wallet App installed or Apple or Samsung Pay.
  2. Go to a cash point that uses contactless. All the latest ones have it, and you can search for them in your Santander app.
  3. Place your device on the contactless reader and take out money as you would using your card.

Take out money using a code:

  1. You need to have the Santander app installed and go to a contactless ATM (you can check where to find one in the same app)
  2. Authorise the transaction via the Santander app, by going to “My Products”, “Cards”, and from the card that you want to use click on “Take out money using a code.”
  3. Enter the amount of money that you want to take out and a code will be sent to your mobile
  4. Once you are at the ATM, choose “Transactions without a card” and “Withdraw money using a code.” Just type in the code that you got on the mobile and you’re ready 😎

This method is safe as it uses two stages to authenticate the transaction (a code received and the telephone number that requested the transaction).

4. Using Bizum (available in Spain)

What to do if your mobile does not have NFC, you do not have a smartwatch and no ATM is within reach? Remember that with Santander you always have bizum available!

With Bizum you can make instant transfers directly to phone numbers. How?

  1. Go to the Santander app. You can find Bizum in shortcuts or in the menu and “Send Money”.
  2. Enter the phone number to which you want to send the money and the amount to Bizum.
  3. Authorise the transaction with your signature and it’s done!

How will we pay in the future?

It is possible that cash will disappear from use and all businesses will allow payment using NFC cards, either with the actual card, embedded in a Wallet on a mobile phone or with contactless wristbands. You can read this article about the future of mobile payments.

In our futuristic vision, we will end up paying with our smile, or any other biometric trait that can identify us unequivocally, in a few years, once it is safe.  Although that is just one option!

If this post helped you, please consider sharing it. Have a great summer!

Authors in this post: Joan Rodríguez – from the Global Cybersecurity team – and Alba Molina – from the Technology & Operations Communications team.


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