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What Are Digital Wallets?
Digital wallets are smartphone apps that allow you to digitally store payment card information on your phone. They let you complete transactions for both online and in-store payments using only your phone – no physical card necessary! Digital wallets are typically pre-loaded on your cell phone. For instance, Apple Pay®(1) or Google Pay™(2) already built in. How and where you’re able to use your digital wallet will vary (each merchant and their payment systems are different) so look for the Apple Pay or Google Pay icons, shown below, when you check out.
How Do You Use a Digital Wallet?
One reason for the increasing popularity of mobile wallets is their ease of use. Getting started is easy and the Digital Wallet you use will walk you through how to add a card. You’ll probably be done in less than a minute. After you’ve set up your virtual wallet with your information, you can easily make payments and even send money to friends and family.
When it’s time to make your first purchase, all it takes is a payment terminal that’s compatible with your device. If you’re using a popular program like Google Pay or Apple Pay, most terminals in physical stores utilize Near-Field Communication (NFC) chips to read payment information when you hold your phone close enough to the terminal. Depending on your digital wallet’s security settings, you may also be able to set up a biometric authentication that would require you to scan your thumb or face to verify each purchase. When shopping online, just follow the prompts given by the retailer to make your purchase.
Where Can I Use a Digital Wallet?
There are several places you can use your mobile wallet, and they include:
- Online stores
- Brick and mortar (physical) stores
- Online payments between family and friends
- Recurring bills
Like a credit card, your digital wallet will only work with retailers who accept your device as a payment method. More details here
Is it Safe to Use?
When you use a digital wallet from a reputable source, you shouldn't have any trouble. Each transaction is encrypted, meaning sensitive data like card and account numbers are protected in a way they never have been before.
Are There Any Disadvantages of Using a Digital Wallet?
Digital wallets tend to be safer and more convenient, but you may want to keep your plastic card handy in some situations. For example, some merchants may not yet accept Digital Wallet as payment, including while traveling out of the United States. However, the average card user in America today will be able to enjoy using their digital wallet at many retailers, especially big box stores. When you shop, look for the Apple Pay or Google Pay icons when you check out.
What are the benefits?
Here are 6 benefits you can expect to enjoy if you decide to make the switch.
Whether it's faster check out times or just less time fumbling for your wallet or purse, digital wallets can help streamline your shopping experience. Most tap transactions are processed in 2 seconds or less, whereas chip-card transactions can take upwards of 10 seconds to go through.
Digital wallets mean you have one less thing to carry with you. Most digital wallets allow you to store multiple cards and payment options so you can leave your cards at home and slim down your physical wallet.
Because your cards are safe at home, digital wallets help eliminate the concern of your private information being stolen by credit card scanners or suspect cashiers. A trusted digital wallet will encrypt your transaction data, making it virtually impossible for criminals or hackers to steal. Unlike cash, which can be stolen, and credit cards, which can be copied, the card information you load into a digital wallet is encrypted. In order to make a payment, you have to unlock your device and also type the pass code or use your fingerprint to unlock the digital wallet. To reduce your risk of fraudulent charges if your device is lost or stolen, make sure to set a strong pass code and enable fingerprint authentication to lock your device once you enable a wallet.
Manage Multiple Cards Easily
Most digital wallets allow you to set up multiple payment options, including both debit and credit cards. If you manage multiple accounts, this is a convenient way to keep your funds sorted out in a way that will help you reach your financial goals.
Track Your Spending
A digital wallet may help you eliminate a mound of old receipts. Most wallets keep a record of your transactions and also include tracking features that will help you break down your expenses by category, date, or amount.
Have an Easier Experience
Most wallets for your smartphone are designed with user experience top of mind, this means most apps will be intuitive and simple to use. If you find that there’s a learning curve, don’t worry! Chances are you will easily find online tutorials and videos to help you navigate any issue that comes up.
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