For years, we’ve successfully – and happily – used credit cards as our go-to way to pay in stores and online. But you may have recently noticed people at the register or in the store aisle using phones and other devices to pay. These people are taking advantage of digital wallets, which allow consumers to make transactions via a device linked to a funding account – including credit, debit and prepaid cards. Available to consumers free of charge and fairly easy to obtain, digital wallets are being developed not just for basic financial transactions but to also authenticate the card holder’s credentials.
But how should a digital wallet work and how do you choose the right one? Below are our five “must-haves” for the ideal digital wallet.
1. Safe & Secure
You need to be able to trust who you’re getting your digital wallet from – and make sure they’ve built something that is safe and secure. The most secure wallets will have multiple layers of protection at every step in the process such as security questions unique to you and mobile verification via text.
- Look for: Wallets from financial institutions. They are already in the business of protecting and safeguarding your savings, mortgage and other critical elements of your personal life.
- Avoid: Wallets that advocate linking directly to your bank account. If fraud happens, there aren’t always protections to get your money back if someone accesses your personal account, or you may have to jump through hoops to get back what’s rightly yours.
2. Open & Work Anywhere
Digital wallets should never limit how or where you choose to pay. They should work on your phone, PC, or tablet, and whether you’re online at home or 200 feet underground on a subway.
3. Does More Than Just Pay
A wallet should do more than just simply replace the swipe of a card while you’re shopping. What you should look for are wallets that will help you complete your everyday tasks – whether it’s paying a bill, paying back a friend or redeeming coupons.
4. Never Denies You Rewards
When you use your credit card today, one of the great benefits is receiving rewards like airline miles and hotel points. You want to make sure you still get these when using a digital wallet. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case and, in fact, some wallets can actually hinder your ability to get rewards. So, if you ate dinner at that cool place down the street, you want to make sure nothing gets in the way of you receiving the triple rewards points you’ve earned.
5. Simple & Easy to Use
And finally, your digital wallet shouldn’t need to come with an instruction manual. It should be intuitive and easy to use – and offer a great, simple experience.