Using Chase Pay in-store can be quick and easy. Unfortunately, it usually isn’t. That’s not because the system doesn’t work, but rather because most cashiers are still completely unfamiliar with it. However, I recently discovered a small tip that might help (see the video below). Since Chase Pay is a Chase Freedom Q4 5x category and there is also a bonus for Sapphire or Freedom Unlimited cardholders to earn an extra 1500 Ultimate Rewards points with 5 purchases of $25 or more through Chase Pay, I thought it was worth highlighting how Chase Pay works in-store in 2018.
Last holiday season, I wrote a post about how to use Chase Pay in-store. The short summary of that post was that it works by getting the cashier to scan a QR code on your phone, but most cashiers would likely try to redirect you to tap your phone on the payment terminal or look at you like you have three heads when trying to get them to scan it. A year later, it doesn’t seem like Chase has made much progress: I’ve recently used Chase Pay several times and I haven’t found any greater familiarity from cashiers (this may of course vary by location), but this time around I took a couple of videos to show how it works for those unfamiliar.
If you are one of those who are unfamiliar with Chase Pay, the basics that you need to know about Chase Pay are:
- You must download the Chase Pay app. This is separate from the Chase Mobile app you use to log in to your Chase account.
- To my knowledge, Chase Pay only works with personal Visa cards. My Chase Mastercards (like my IHG card) do not show up in the app.
- In order to pay in most instances (gas is different as shown below), you log in to the Chase Pay app (same login credentials you use at Chase.com), hit “Pay”, select a card, and generate a QR code (like the bar code shown in the image above).
- The cashier scans the QR code and it charges your card.
It should be that easy. Unfortunately, it’s not always so smooth. Most cashiers I’ve encountered have never heard of or seen Chase Pay. Some have been reluctant to scan the QR code and I am almost always told to touch the phone to the payment terminal. That’s how Apple Pay and Google Pay work — you touch your phone to the payment terminal. But Chase is different with its QR code-based system. You’ll have to stand your ground to get them to scan.
Several fails…and a success that unveiled a secret
Since Chase Pay is a Chase Freedom Q4 5x category, I’ve been wanting to be able to demonstrate how it works. Unfortunately, it’s taken me longer than I expected to demonstrate for two reasons: first, there just isn’t anyplace near me that accepts Chase Pay. While merchant acceptance has grown somewhat since last year, there just isn’t anyplace within about 40 miles from home that takes Chase Pay.
However, Starbucks accepts Chase Pay and I often stop at a Starbucks when I’m on the road. Over the past month, I’ve stopped at Starbucks a number of times and tried Chase Pay – to no avail. Whereas last year, I just scanned my phone with the same scanner normally used to scan the Starbucks app, that wasn’t working this year.
Yesterday, I went to Best Buy. After the cashier scanned my item (a bottle of Coke), I pulled up Chase Pay and asked her to scan the QR code. She wanted to know why and I explained. She was skeptical and mentioned that usually it works if I just tap the phone to the payment terminal. I let her know that Chase Pay is different: it doesn’t work by touching the phone, but rather works by scanning a QR code. She somewhat reluctantly scanned the QR code on my phone and voila! Payment accepted. My receipt showed “Chase Pay” and the transaction immediately showed up in my history in the Chase Pay app.
Determined, I went to Starbucks last night and recorded the experience. Excuse the photos of me and my son that cover my QR code :-). I was already logged in to Chase Pay when I started the video (remember that Chase Pay is a separate mobile app. It’s not the same Chase Mobile app you use to log into your account – you’ll need to download the standalone Chase Pay app). Here’s the 1.5 minutes it took at Starbucks thanks to a cashier who figured it out:
As you heard there, the secret turned out to be that the cashier has to input the payment method first. From the sounds of it on the video, you can tell that my cashier wasn’t familiar with using Chase Pay but rather I got lucky that she was willing to poke around on the register and figure it out. The cashier has to first choose “credit” for payment type and then they should see a button on their screen for “Chase Pay”. Then they can scan your QR code. If you find yourself running into a brick wall at a retailer that Chase says accepts Chase Pay, that might be the secret — you may need to get the cashier to start the process on their end. That’s a pain since I still haven’t met a cashier who knew what Chase Pay was.
In fact, I also recently used Chase Pay at a frozen yogurt shop. In this case, I took a video of just my screen in the Chase Pay app. Again, I logged in to Chase Pay before this video begins. Remember that you must first choose the card with which you want to pay (be sure you choose the right card!) and then hit “pay”. You can then scroll through your cards to select one with which to pay. Under the card image, you’ll see a button that says “Pay with QR code”. This is what it looks like on an iPhone.
This next video starts after I hit “Pay with QR code” and my phone was already displaying the QR code. You’ll only see the process on my phone, but you can also listen in on audio of the interaction — showing once again that my cashier didn’t know about Chase Pay.
In this case, the merchant had a scanner on the customer side similar to the one at a Starbucks. I think they have a loyalty program and the scanner is usually used to scan a barcode on customer phones. But the cashier was happy to let me try using it and it worked smoothly and easily.
Greg has also been experimenting with Chase Pay in-store. Unlike my experience, he ran into some difficulty at Best Buy. First, he brought a candy bar and an Amazon gift card to the cashier. The cashier told him that gift cards won’t work with any form of digital payment, so he took her word for it and just bought the candy bar. However, his charge was declined twice on the first card he tried to use. He switched to a different card in his Chase Pay app and it went through successfully.
However, gas at Shell was a different story. Greg pulled up his Chase Pay app and hit “find” to see nearby merchants, where he found a Shell cash station nearby that accepted Chase Pay.
I’ll let Greg speak for himself from there. Here’s exactly what he wrote me about the experience:
In the app, under “Pay”, you have to make sure to switch from “Cashier” to “Gas”. Then you pick the gas station you’re at and type in the pump that you parked in front of. There is then an option to activate the pump. First (and only needed one time), you can add your loyalty number to Chase Pay and it’s automatically used when you pay. In this case, I added my Fuel Rewards number and automatically got 6 cents per gallon off (because I previously linked my IHG card to Fuel Rewards to get Gold status, or something like that). Then, when you’re ready, you click Activate Pump and you get a code to type into the pump. At the pump, you type the code and then fuel up. That’s it. When I was done the pump automatically spit out a receipt. It was all very easy and arguably easier than using a credit card directly at the pump because I would have had to then type my zip code.
Darn it. Just realized that I accidentally paid for the gas with my Freedom Unlimited card! That’s a big negative for this: it’s easy to pick the wrong card.
For those more visual, here’s what it looked like:
First, pick the gas station:
Then, choose which pump you’re using:
Then, activate the pump.
That gave him a code to type in to activate the pump.
As he said, his loyalty number was automatically added since he had entered that in Chase Pay ahead of time. It all went smoothly and easily. I stopped at a Shell last night to try it out when paying at the cashier inside. No dice — the entire credit card payment system was down at the location I visited. In fact, even their pumps weren’t working – so no Chase Pay experiment from me there.
But Greg highlights one of my biggest frustrations with Chase Pay — for some reason, it is very easy to choose the wrong card. I’ve done it before. In my videos, I was just buying something small for the purposes of this post and therefore wasn’t concerned with which card I used. But if you’re looking to take advantage of the 4th quarter bonus or the bonus for using Chase Pay with a Sapphire or Freedom Unlimited card, you’ll want to be sure you select the right card before you generate that QR code.
Chase Pay hasn’t gotten much easier to use since last year. However, the cashier at Starbucks taught me a valuable lesson for the next time I run into a situation where it doesn’t work: I might just need the cashier to choose “credit” and then “Chase Pay” on his/her end. I wouldn’t expect most cashiers to be familiar with that, but if you can get one willing to try, that might be the key when Chase Pay isn’t going through. On the other hand, it is totally seamless in some instances, so it’s probably worth trying to go after those Chase Pay bonuses in-store.