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What are Digital Wallets?

The fat, bulky wallets that your mom and dad crammed into their purse and pocket are more and more,  being replaced by digital wallets.


The roster of digital wallet apps continues to grow, and includes (but is not limited to) Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, PayPal, Walmart Pay, Android Pay and Cash App. The common theme for all of these services: one uses one’s smartphone instead of cash and/or plastic cards. Simply put, digital versions of credit and debit cards are electronically stored in the digital wallet, allowing consumers to pay for products and services of all types via an app on their phones.


Digital wallets also can be used to store those “other” items that add heft to a wallet, such as a driver’s license (or at least an e-version of the information contained on a plastic driver’s license), bus passes, tickets to sporting/entertainment events, loyalty program cards and gift cards, to name a few.


This new technology is extremely versatile, as digital wallets can be used at point of sale (POS) terminals in brick-and-mortar stores, as well as online and at ATMs.


Advocates of digital wallets note the convenience factor of a quick wave of one’s phone at the POS terminal, and the ability to organize receipts. In addition, digital wallets are password-protected, and therefore much more secure than carrying cash or even a credit card. On the other hand, privacy watchdogs point out shoppers’ activities can be tracked when using digital wallets.


People can use digital wallets without having a relationship with a credit union or other financial institution. Digital wallets also can be used with cryptocurrencies. 





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