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Click to Pay: How it works, and why it exists

An explainer of the new one-click payment option recently launched by Amex, Visa, Mastercard and Discover


In October 2019, the four major credit card payment processors rolled out Click to Pay. It’s designed to simplify the online checkout process and further secure your personal information, whether it’s associated with a credit, debit or prepaid card. Here’s how it works.

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Goodbye, Amex Express Checkout, Masterpass and Visa Checkout. Say hello to something with a simpler, unified name: Click to Pay.

In October 2019, the four major credit card payment processors — American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa — introduced Secure Remote Commerce in the U.S. It’s designed to simplify the online checkout process and further secure your personal information, whether it’s associated with a credit, debit or prepaid card.

Nine months later, in July 2020, Secure Remote Commerce got a new name: Click to Pay. Here, we answer some key questions about what Click to Pay is and how it works.

What is Click to Pay?

Click to Pay refers to a one-click checkout option that you can use when you’re making a purchase on a website, mobile app or any other digital channel with an American Express, Discover, Mastercard or Visa credit, debit or prepaid card. It’s designed to work on laptops, smartphones, PCs, tablets and other electronic devices.

Where is Click to Pay available?

More than 10,000 U.S. merchants have signed up for Click to Pay, including Cinemark, Crate & Barrel, Expedia, Fresh Direct, Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts, JoS. A. Bank, Lowe’s, Marriott, Papa Johns, Rakuten, Saks Fifth Avenue and

Outside the U.S., merchants that are adopting the technology include Emirates, Mitre 10, Noel Leeming, 1-day, Pizza Hut Australia, The Warehouse, Torpedo7, Ticketek and Warehouse Stationery.

How do you sign up for Click to Pay?

You create a Click to Pay payment profile or add a card to your profile when you visit a card issuer’s website or carry out a transaction on a merchant’s website.

A test of the sign-up process on the Mastercard website looked like this:

  • Enter your email address (which becomes your Click to Pay user ID).
  • Type in your mobile phone number.
  • Add your card number, expiration date and security code.
  • Put in your billing address.
  • Six-digit verification code is generated.
  • Your profile is complete.

How do you shop with Click to Pay?

When you shop at a participating online merchant, you’ll see a single Click to Pay button rather than an array of checkout buttons. The button displays a Click to Pay logo paired with American Express, Discover, Mastercard or Visa logos, depending on which cards a merchant accepts.

“Often when customers shop online, they are presented with multiple payment buttons with different steps and information requirements, which can be confusing for customers and challenging for [merchants],” American Express explains on its website.

The Click to Pay icon features a pentagon design on its side with a stylized depiction of a fast-forward symbol on the right, formed by a continuous line. To the average consumer, it might look like a scrunched-up arrow.

To make a purchase, you don’t need to create an account or log into an account. Instead, you simply enter your Click to Pay user ID (email address). In other words, you won’t be required to repeatedly enter your card number, expiration date, billing address, shipping address or other personal information.

The idea behind this is to mirror the checkout experience that exists in physical stores — with one terminal and one way to pay.

How does Click to Pay protect your data?

A one-of-a-kind digital identifier known as a token replaces your data, including your credit card account number, meaning this data isn’t floating around on the internet. Mastercard says this technology relies on analytics and biometrics to identify legitimate cardholders.

This process eliminates the need for merchants to store your card information — information that cybercrooks can easily swipe if one-click payment capabilities aren’t in place.

“Improved online payments security is a benefit of Click to Pay. EMV (chip) cards have become commonplace in recent years. They do a very good job deterring in-person fraud, so most of the bad guys have shifted their efforts online,” says Ted Rossman, industry analyst for

“I’m glad to see that Visa, Mastercard, American Express and other EMVco participants are deepening their online security,” he adds. “It’s also a good reminder that credit cards offer better fraud protections than debit cards.”

Bottom line

Credit card companies launched Click to Pay to compete, plain and simple. Amazon, Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal already enabled one-click checkout. With Click to Pay, the credit card payment processors are trying to catch up to these rivals. And it’s quite likely they will.

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

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