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Understanding Digital Wallets

Digital wallets, in some form, have been around for a while. However, recently, they've become a considerable part of how transactions are processed around the world. But what exactly are digital wallets, and how do you use them? And, most importantly, are they safe to use?

What Is a Digital Wallet & How Does It Work?
Digital wallets, sometimes called mobile wallets, allow you to make purchases using your mobile phone via the digital wallet apps, such as:

  • Google Pay™
  • Apple Pay®
  • Samsung Pay®

You link your debit or credit card to the app, which allows you to use your phone to quickly make a payment online, at the checkout in stores, or through in-app purchases.

Digital wallets are not only an ideal way to simplify making payments, but they're also a perfect place for organizing and accessing essential documents.

Some things you can store in most digital wallets include:

  • Credit or debit cards
  • Gift cards
  • Loyalty reward cards
  • Hotel reservations
  • Coupons
  • Boarding passes
  • Concert tickets

How Do You Use a Digital Wallet?
When using your digital wallet for making a payment, you don't have to insert or swipe your credit or debit card. Instead, you will simply hold your phone up to a terminal in the store and wait for it to process your payment. When shopping online, some sites will allow you to choose your digital wallet as an option to pay rather than having you enter your credit information.

Traditionally, digital wallet software is housed on your smartphone through a mobile app. Still, you can also use it in various other formats, such as your personal computer or other physical devices. The smartphone app version is the most popular one used today because of its mobility and flexibility.

To start using your digital wallet, you'll first decide which version you want to use. The type of device you have will typically influence your decision. For example, if you're using an Apple Watch or iPhone, you'll likely go for Apple Pay®. If you're an Android user, then Samsung Pay® or Google Pay™ would probably be your choice.

Is a Digital Wallet More Secure than Regular Payments?
This is a question many of our members want to know. Overall, a digital wallet payment usually provides more security features than using your credit or debit card.

When you set up your digital wallet, you aren't storing your account information on your phone. You'll have a virtual card number for each card that is only linked with the mobile device and digital wallet you use. When you perform a digital wallet transaction, your card number is not passed to the merchant, thereby reducing the chance your card information will be accessed if the merchant’s systems are breached. Since you use a verification process to set up all digital wallet transactions, such as a fingerprint scan, others cannot access your information even if you lose your phone.

We're Here to Help!
Even though our society is accustomed to constantly changing technology, it can still be confusing. This is especially true regarding managing your financial matters and security concerns.

If you have any questions or would like additional information on digital wallets, please stop by the office or call 800-410-0501. 

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.