The Benefits and Risks of a Digital Wallet

  • By Bree Ann Russ
  • Mar 22, 2022

Today, the wallet is anything but old-fashioned. It's digital and can store many data types, such as loyalty cards, membership IDs, coupons, and even payment methods such as credit cards or cash. Since people learned how to use Google Pay, the digital wallet has made purchases easier.

Today, you can pay for goods and services in various ways. You can use your mobile phone to pay with a pre-loaded debit card or by scanning product barcodes. Depending on which digital wallet app you use, you might also be able to use it to store gift cards or loyalty cards so that you don’t need to carry them around with you all day long.

There are many benefits to having a digital wallet. It's convenient because all your information is in one place and accessible from multiple devices. It also helps keep personal information secure because you won't have to share it often. Plus, it saves time when transferring information between devices or websites. On the other hand, some risks are associated with using this technology frequently. Using the right digital wallet app and keeping your data secure is both essential to those who want to use this technology.

Digital Wallet

What is a Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet can be used to store information about your payment methods, coupons, gift cards, and more in one central location. It's a convenient way to organize all your information, so you don't have to carry a wallet full of plastic cards.

Whether you're using physical or virtual wallet apps stored on your phone, a digital wallet app can hold a wide variety of data that you may want access to but do not want to carry around with you. You can also use a digital wallet to make purchases online or in-store by storing credit card information.

Some examples of digital wallets are ApplePay, Microsoft Wallet, Samsung Pay, and PayPal One Touch (™). These apps have built-in security that includes two-factor authentication, biometrics, one-time-use PIN codes, advanced encryption, and virtualization to protect your personal information.

Storage Device

If you avoid putting a wallet in your pocket, a digital wallet is a great alternative. A digital wallet is helpful because it can hold a wide variety of information, including:

  • Your loyalty cards
  • Coupons
  • Gift cards
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Insurance cards
  • Car key codes
  • Other forms of ID

Plus, it can hold other items you wouldn't usually have room for in a standard wallet. Remember, the more you store in your digital wallet, the more at risk you are for digital wallet fraud.

All the major mobile phone developers have included apps that allow users to add credit and debit cards to their phones. When shoppers visit a local merchant, they only need to tap or wave their phone or mobile wearable to pay instantly from their saved cards.

Travel Protection

It's also helpful if you're traveling and need to have everything in one place. Having everything stored in a digital wallet means you won’t need to go through the hassle of obtaining new cards should you lose your wallet during your trip.

How Does a Digital Wallet Work?

Digital wallets are often connected to central financial institutions since they can store debit cards, credit cards, and other payment information. Consumers can add their favorite payment and loyalty cards to a digital wallet, such as My Digital Wallet. The funds can then be accessed from an app or browser and used for transactions in stores or online.

Some digital wallets can store health and identification information, as well as other data that is relevant to one’s daily life. Consumers can also use the digital wallet to make peer-to-peer payments, transfer money, and make charitable donations.

benefits of digital wallet

Benefits of a Digital Wallet

There are some great benefits to a digital wallet. They can save you time, and money, provide services you may not have the option of elsewhere,Fgi and even give you instant access to information that otherwise would be delayed. Here is an overview of some of the best benefits of using a digital wallet. 

Convenience

Users can leave their real wallets at home and still pay for a coffee at Starbucks using only their phone or watch. There is no need to carry around cash or credit/debit cards. Additionally, paying with a phone or wearable means you don’t have to remember your username or password to log in anywhere. Instead, you simply tap or click and pay. 

Banking Services

For the many households that do not have bank accounts, a digital wallet can provide them with bank-like services and an acceptable way to make payments without needing a bank account. There are also far fewer fees, and the fees are much cheaper. Nearly anyone can afford to use a digital payment app and digital wallet. Some digital wallets allow users to make payments, store funds, pay bills (write digital checks) and even transfer money to other financial accounts, all within the app. Digital wallets offer options to people who have limited funds or poor credit. 

Security

Another benefit is that you don’t have to carry cards that can get worn, lost, or stolen. Whenever your bank or insurance company issues you a new card, you simply tap a link to update the information, and it’s instantly current. 

Access to Your Information

One significant benefit is that with many of these digital payment cards, you can see a list of your recent transactions right there on your phone. In addition, you don’t have to log in online or download any statements. With credit cards, you often must wait until your monthly statement to review your recent transitions. With a digital wallet, you instantly access all your payments and charges 24/7.

Saves Time

You can use your smartphone to make purchases at checkout or scan items as you go through the store without swiping a physical credit card. You can also use your debit card to make purchases digitally, saving time in situations like at the grocery store.

Fewer Things to Remember

Another way that digital wallets save you time is through the ability to set up automatic bill pay. You can schedule utility payments, so you don't forget a due date or log into websites to make payments.

Additionally, digital wallets can help you keep track of your spending by showing you your monthly spending or allowing you to enter your spending manually. Having the numbers in front of you makes budgeting much more effortless.

Risks of Digital Wallets

There are also security concerns to be aware of with digital wallets. If someone gains access to your account, they can steal your money or make purchases with your payment information. Suppose you don't secure your device with biometrics and use only a PIN or password. In that case, thieves could potentially break into your device and access your digital wallet and other financial accounts.

risks of digital wallet

Inconsistent Security

While some digital wallets offer two-factor authentication (i.e., entering a unique code from an app after logging in), others do not. That is why using a verified digital wallet with these security features is so important.

Intercepted Data

Because mobile phones and wearables use wireless networks, it poses a risk of interception. Hackers could potentially access that data whenever information travels across a wireless network.

Fraud Risks

When you pay for something using a credit card, the bank covers you if you later experience credit card fraud, and you are not liable for those purchases. Unfortunately, those protections may not be in place with a digital wallet. You may have very little recourse should someone steal your credentials and charge purchases using your digital wallet.

Lost or Broken Phones

If you lose your phone with your digital wallet, you could lose the information stored in the wallet on your phone. Digital wallets can also be inconvenient if you need to use a different payment method on the fly. You may not have the information you need to enter manually, or you may not be able to access the payment method inside the wallet.

If the device that has your wallet on it breaks, you could also lose all the information stored inside the wallet. You will have to download the wallet again, but you may not be able to access the same information or have a record of the purchases you made previously. You might also have to obtain new payment information or replace gift cards stored in your wallet.

How to Stay Safe When Using a Digital Wallet

Digital wallets can be a lifesaver, but they can also risk you and your money. Therefore, follow these safety tips to ensure your digital wallet is an asset rather than a liability.

  • Always practice good password hygiene. For example, use long, strong passwords on all your financial accounts and never share them with anyone.
  • Turn on two-factor authentication, especially with bank and credit card accounts.
  • Turn on all your phone's security features and those of your digital wallets. They can include Face ID, fingerprint ID, and PIN codes. Enable a screen lock and never leave your phone unattended.
  • Review your digital wallet purchases and transactions frequently, looking for anything suspicious. Contact the bank immediately if you find something that doesn’t make sense. 
  • Always be on the lookout for phishing emails. Never click a link in an email or text when you don’t know who the email came from. 
  • Never give out personal information online or to a stranger who requests it.
  • Educate yourself on social engineering and other malicious tactics to avoid financial fraud. 

Final Words: The Verdict on Digital Wallet Apps

Digital wallets are convenient and can make your daily life easier. You can add all your payment methods, loyalty cards, gift cards, and even identification information to one app on your phone.

However, it's vital to be wary of the risks associated with storing all this information in an unsecured location. You should take steps to protect your digital wallet and the data stored inside it.

A digital wallet can be safer than a credit card in some ways. If your cell phone is secured with a Face ID or a fingerprint, a thief won't be able to access your financial accounts or pay for things. If they steal your credit card, they might be able to use it immediately.

Each year banks process more than 135 billion credit card transactions. Digital wallets are quickly consuming a lot more of that pie. Once financial institutions see the benefits, they too will fund even more digital solutions and support this wave of newer technology.

You can also take steps to mitigate any issues that may arise if your phone breaks or you lose it, such as investing in identity monitoring services. That way, if anyone gets into your phone with your digital wallet app, you will get a notification should anyone try to use your personal data.

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