Digital wallets are programs that store any financial information you instruct them to, so that you can leave home without your credit cards, checkbook, and still be up to date. Many people even store driver’s license and insurance information in their digital wallets. But where exactly does a digital wallet store this information, what are the benefits, and what are the risks?
Benefits of Digital Wallets
The biggest benefits of digital wallets are obvious: The ability to keep all of one’s information in a single location, and to use a single device for communication and various financial purposes. Digital wallets just make life-on-the-go easier. Add to this the “digital cool” factor, and you might wonder why these electronic billfolds haven’t taken off yet.
Real and Perceived Risks of Digital Wallets
The biggest perceived risk of electronic wallets is also fairly obvious: If you lose your electronic device, won’t it be easy for a hacker or shady individual to clear your accounts with the tap of a screen?
In reality, this isn’t quite the way it works. Assuming an intruder can even get into the phone (which everyone should a passcode, security pattern, or thumbprint), digital wallets have their own security features installed. This is especially true with one digital wallet below that is owned by an online personal security company!
What are the Best Digital Wallets?
Google Wallet is, for all intents and purposes, the original digital wallet. Released in 2011, this wallet works at PayPass and other “just wave your credit card” registers (including many gas pumps) via Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. Users simply tap their Google Wallet-enabled device to the appropriate hardware, and the money is instantly transferred, or in the case of a gas pump, the user’s primary card is authorized. Like most digital wallets, this one is PIN-protected, and can be found at Google.com/wallet.
Apple’s contribution to the digital wallet sphere lets you store more than just financial information. It also allows for storage of gift cards, boarding passes, and even movie tickets! Passbook is available for the iPhone, as well as the iPod Touch, and can be found at Apple.com.
One nice feature of the Isis digital wallet is that, should you lose your phone, you can freeze this digital wallet with a phone call to customer support, or via the Web. You can reactivate it with a phone call, should you find your phone or Android device.
Pre-loaded with $10, and available from PayWithIsis.com, Isis allows users to sort coupons and manage loyalty cards and special offers from merchants. Unfortunately, it only works with NFC(Near Field Communication)-enabled Android devices.
The LifeLock- Lemon Wallet is becoming more well-known as simply the LifeLock wallet, as a result of security company LifeLock’s buyout of Lemon. This new digital wallet includes all of Lemon’s premium features ($35.99/year) for free.
Users can store not only their credit card information, but driver’s license, insurance, and discount cards as well. As you might expect from a company with a name like LifeLock, this digital wallet has more security features than any of the above digital wallets (which are admittedly quality products in their own right). Available from Lifelock.com, for Android and iOS devices.