5 Things to Consider Before Switching to Mobile Wallets

Since the emergence of mobile wallets about a decade ago, there has always been a doubt about whether or not people are willing to adapt to the new methods of payment. However, over the last few years, more people have accepted that the change that is coming in the world of payments cannot be stopped.

Subsequently, the change in consumer taste has not gone unnoticed by leading companies including the likes of Google, Samsung, AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Wal-Mart, and Apple, among others. They have launched their own mobile payments wallets. Even small stores are now launching their own wallets as they seek to be as convenient to their customers as possible.

However, while the idea of carrying a mobile wallet as compared to a cash-filled leather wallet or credit/debit card is compelling, there are a few things you need to consider before finally making the switch.

Acceptability in stores near you

While several manufacturers, technology companies, and retailers have launched their own mobile payments apps, not all stores accept these forms of payments. For instance, Apple Pay is accepted in just over 1 million stores in the U.S., which means that unless you do shopping frequently in one of those stores, then you are probably not going to be using you Apple Pay wallet as frequently as you use other modes of payment.

In addition, some of these stores have their own mobile payments apps, and only accept a few that are offered by third parties. As such, you may want to decide whether or not to use your local store’s mobile app, from which you tend to do most of your shopping or a general app that you can use in other stores. For instance, consider AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile’s jointly produced Softcard (formerly Isis) mobile wallet, which despite launching nationally in 2013; it’s still most realistically useful in Austin and Salt Lake City.

Security and safeguards of mobile wallet

Mobile wallets act as an interface between your credit card/bank account and the contactless point of sale. As such, it is important to ensure that the security requirements for a credit card payments terminal are well replicated in your mobile wallet. Many merchants are now launching their own mobile wallets, so you must make sure that you can rely on the security and safeguards provided on their mobile wallets before choosing to use them.

Furthermore, using mobile phones to make payments also exposes the wallet to extra threats. Consider a situation where the user is on a public WiFi network. This can cause real threats to your mobile wallet data.

Your debit/credit card provider

This may seem to be unnecessary for some mobile wallet holders, but when you begin to make your choice, you will realize that not all cards are supported in every mobile wallet. This means that if you prefer Macy’s Old Navy card instead of MasterCard or Visa, then you have to go with the wallet that supports the Old Navy Card.

In addition, you realize that most of these credit cards attract different charges and offer a variety of promotions. If you are currently holding the card that you believe meets all your needs, then you will have to look for a mobile wallet that is compatible with it, and not the other way round.

The operating system of your mobile device

This is pretty simple and straight forward. The best example, in this case, is Apple Pay. In order to use Apple Pay, then you must be using one of the company’s latest devices, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.

In contrast, in order to use Google Wallet, you can use any device including an iPhone. Just like it has done with a majority of its apps, Google has made Google Wallet available to iPhone users and last year revamped the iOS powered wallet to enable peer to peer payments. This means that you can now send and receive money to/from anyone in the U.S. via Google Wallet for iOS by simply using their email address.

Choice between multiple wallets and a single wallet

While some mobile wallets allow you to add multiple credit cards (e.g Apple Pay), wallets developed by specific stores tend to prefer their own credit/debit cards plus a few more. For instant, Softcard works with American Express, Capital One, Chase credit and its own prepaid card.

Several other stores also have their own mobile wallets and prepaid cards and prefer customers to use them. In addition, these store-specific cards also come with various unique benefits, which may be too good to ignore. The good news though is that there is no limitation to the number of mobile wallets you can have on your phone. As such, it is ideal to have as many as necessary at times.

However, having one mobile wallet can also have its own benefits especially when it comes to tracking your expenditure. Consolidation of expenses can help you manage your finances better.


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