What Is A Digital Wallet?

Digital wallets have been around and in usage for many years, but recently major companies such as Google, Visa, and Mastercard have been bringing them to the forefront of the commerce sector by introducing their own versions of the same idea.

But what exactly is a digital wallet?

It’s a service similar to PayPal; in that it stores your credit card information, and is accessed by way of a user name and a password, saving you the effort of filling in a form with personal and card details. It’s a valuable service considering that according to Visa, up to 86% of mobile users and up to 68% of online desktop users decide not to make purchases due to the process of entering credit card details, addresses, and other information, often on multiple screens .

However the major difference is that while PayPal is seen as a computer-based service, the digital payment services being introduced by Visa and Mastercard are tailored for mobile devices. While the services are available on computers, their supposed appeal lies in the ability to make payments from any device.

Visa’s service is called Visa Checkout, and so far it’s been made available in Australia, Canada, and the US. It’s replacing V.me, Visa’s first foray into digital wallets. However rather than calling it a digital wallet, the head of Visa Checkout in Asia Pacific Greg Storey described Visa Checkout as a “simplified payments experience”. Consumers can also store details from other branded cards in their account, making it accessible to those who aren’t Visa card holders.

Storey said that Visa Checkout was developed in order to reduce the amount of people abandoning online sales due to the need to fill out complex and lengthy forms. As with transactions made via credit or debit cards, transactions via Visa Checkout will be bolstered with triple encryption over the network. Visa has said that more than 180 banks and credit unions are participating in Visa Checkout, along with companies such as Pizza Hut, United Airlines, and Staples.

MasterCard’s service is called MasterPass, and as of July 16th it?s available to consumers in Australia, Canada, China, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, the US, the UK, Poland, and South Africa. It’s a digital platform that like Visa Checkout, allows consumers to access a simplified payment service using any authorised device. It supports a wide range of point-of-sale transaction types, including NFC, QR codes, tags, mobile devices, and traditional plastic cards. It also offers a simplified online payment method, similar to PayPal.

MasterPass will also enable banks and merchants to offer their own digital wallet, which consumers can securely store their card information in. As with Visa Checkout, MasterPass is an open platform, meaning cards that are not MasterCard branded can still be stored and used to make payments. A major focus of MasterPass is making mobile device-based payments safer, and more accessible.

So if you’re consistently frustrated by the cumbersome forms you have to fill out whenever you buy something online, it might be worth looking into one of these services.

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