Just imagine this: You’re walking along the beach on a warm summer day and realize all of the fun in the sun has left you thirsty. As if to answer your thoughts, you spot a dessert shop advertising tropical fruit smoothies and decide that sounds pretty good about now. Your heart sinks once you realize your wallet is over a mile away, still locked in your car.
But then you realize that you have your phone with you, which means you can still access all of your cards through your digital wallet app! Now there’s nothing stopping you from treating yourself to that smoothie. Digital wallets
offer a fast, easy way for you to make payments with your phone, but that’s not all they do. Learn more about their benefits here.
What is a Digital Wallet?
Digital wallet, sometimes called e-wallet, mobile wallet, or virtual wallet, is a general overarching term for apps and online platforms that allow you to store debit and credit cards virtually on your phone, tablet, computer, and wearable smart devices. And, most digital wallets can link your smart devices directly and securely to your banking accounts and PayPal accounts. So, digital wallets are essentially an electronic version of your wallet—but they’re contactless, convenient, and secure. Examples of digital wallets include Apple Pay®, Google Pay™, and Samsung Pay®, so you can make payments with your phone anywhere you see these logos:
Benefits of Digital Wallet:
- Saves time: E-wallets allow you to make payments in stores, online, and in apps with just a tap or a click, so you never have to reach for your physical wallet (whether it’s across the room or deep in your never-ending-Mary-Poppins purse). This allows you to skip the painstaking effort of filling out online checkout forms with your credit card information, so you’ll get your order submitted faster! And, you’ll be well on your way out of brick-and-mortar stores in a jiffy!
- Tracks spending: It can be a pain to check all of your purchases for unusual or suspicious entries and to ensure all bank account fees are being applied correctly to your balance. It can be even harder to find the time to do so. Mobile wallets can allow you to link to multiple bank accounts and provide further insights into your spending. Most of all, the built-in tracking can help you manage your finances and budget your money.
- Offers a more secure way for purchases: E-wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay provide extra layers of security before accessing the app or making a payment, such as requiring a password, a pattern, a PIN, Face ID, or a fingerprint. Additionally, digital wallets don’t store your actual card numbers—they’re encrypted into a unique code. Going even further, digital wallets use a “tokenization” process, which means that the app converts your actual card numbers into a one-time-use 16-digit number, or “token,” every time you make a transaction. So, even if someone were to somehow capture the number used for a transaction, they aren't able to reuse it to make a subsequent purchase.
- Stores your transit cards and theme park tickets: Whether you’re visiting Disney World or flying across the country, mobile wallets make it easy to organize all of your tickets and boarding passes in one place. No more sweating and struggling as you hold up the line to find your pass in your email or your pocket when you’re at the gate. And some virtual wallets even allow users to add their vaccination cards, membership cards, and gift cards.
- Earns rewards: You can still earn points and cash back by using your credit card with your virtual wallet. But, drumroll please…you’ll find additional promotions available on the app, so you can earn even more rewards when you make qualifying purchases with your virtual wallet. Score! With these rewards, you often have the option to claim cashback or save money to use for future payments. Credit card issuers may also offer additional points or cash back when you use your mobile wallet.
- Makes purchases internationally: Another nice perk? E-wallets are available to use when you’re abroad! Carrying around fewer possessions on you when visiting touristy places is always a good idea and not having to carry around a physical wallet can help you worry less about pickpocketing happening to you. Check the countries and regions where you can use your specific digital wallet here: Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
Just a quick note, some virtual wallets will only allow peer-to-peer payments between certain types of devices. For example, Apple Cash app only works between Apple product users. Both Android and Apple (iOS 7 or higher) users can download Google Pay to send money to each other, but it only allows you to send money in the US, India, and Singapore.
- Sends money to friends: E-wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay allow users to make peer-to-peer payments, especially handy for splitting costs for meals, rent, utilities, and more. Plus, many apps will help you do the math!
Best Practices for Digital Wallet
Digital wallets offer a slew of benefits, but it’s best to keep in mind some of the following information so that you don’t get caught off guard with any limitations:
- Check that your device has the capability for a digital wallet. Some older models of Apple devices are not compatible with Apple Pay; check to see if yours is here. Likewise, you’ll need an NFC (near-field communication)-enabled Android phone running Android 5.0 or newer for Google Pay, which you can check by opening your phone’s “Settings” app and tapping “About Device.” Check if your device is compatible with Samsung Pay here.
- Check with your credit card issuer and digital wallet platform for additional details, terms, and conditions, especially regarding notifications, suspending/removing cards, earning rewards, privacy and security, laws, etc. Please see our SCCU Digital Wallet Terms and Conditions for more details.
- Be sure that the merchant accepts e-wallets as a payment option at checkout in stores and online first before using. While e-wallets are becoming more and more popular, some online merchants and brick-and-mortar stores (and countries) don’t have this capability for their point-of-sales just yet. Check here which stores, apps, and sites accept Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay.
- Cover your phone when entering your passcode in public places and be sure to keep an eye on your phone at all times. It’s a good idea to set your phone to lock automatically when not in use and have it require a PIN or biometric information to unlock it. Also, it’s a good practice not to connect to a public Wi-Fi connection while reviewing your financial information, as others could get in the middle of your connection and swipe sensitive data from your phone.
Just a friendly reminder,
- Be cautious with peer-to-peer payments. It’s a good idea to send payments only to people you know, and confirm payment requests with them first too.
Space Coast Credit Union will never request personal or account information through phone, email, text messages, or any other means that a member did not first initiate. If you receive a text message or email that requests your full account number or Social Security number, please do not reply to it, or if you receive a phone call pretending to be us requesting this information, hang up, and give us a call at 800-447-7228. See our Fraud Prevention Center
for more information about how to keep your accounts safe, fight fraud with us, and address any issues.
At this point, you may be on the edge of your seat wondering how to add your SCCU cards to your digital wallet. It’s easy! Here’s how to get started:
- Open Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay on your phone.
- For Google Pay, tap “Payment” and then “Add.” For Apple Pay, tap the add (+) button in the upper-right corner. For Samsung Pay, choose the “Add credit/debit card” icon.
- Lastly, snap a picture of your card or enter the details manually.
Congrats, you’ve done it! Now you can enjoy all the oh-so-wonderful benefits of your digital wallet! Feel free to get in touch with us if you have any questions and a Team Member will be more than happy to assist.