The fu­ture is in your pocket

Spe­cial report: fi­nan­cial fu­ture e-wal­lets are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar than ever

Metro Canada (Ottawa) - - Special Report: Financial Future - Marc Saltz­man

Your wal­let is go­ing dig­i­tal. The grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of “elec­tronic wal­let” apps, which work with your mo­bile de­vice — such as a smart­phone or smart­watch — mean you can now pay for some­thing with a sim­ple tap or wave at the check­out counter.

E-wal­lets are not only fast and easy to set up and use, they’re widely ac­cepted, se­cure, and of­fer other ben­e­fits to the shop­per and re­tailer.

How they work

Phones can serve as e-wal­lets if they’re embed­ded with near field com­mu­ni­ca­tion (NFC), a short-range wire­less ra­dio tech­nol­ogy that lets you sim­ply touch a mer­chant ter­mi­nal — the same ones that sup­port those “tap & go” credit cards.

Pur­chases usu­ally get capped at $100 or so, but no PIN is re­quired to com­plete the pur­chase.

Most mo­bile pay­ment op­tions to­day are tied to an app pro­vided by a fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion. These may also sup­port loy­alty and mem­ber­ship cards and gift cards.

Plenty of op­tions

You can use your smart­phone or smart­watch any­where con­tact­less pay­ments are ac­cepted, which in­cludes hun­dreds of thou­sands of mer­chants across Canada.

The big mo­bile pay­ment providers all work in a sim­i­lar way: If it’s not al­ready pre­loaded onto your de­vice, you’ll down­load their app and then scan your credit or debit card (or type in the de­tails).

Some e-wal­lets re­quire you to val­i­date your­self at point of pur­chase or re­quire a PIN code. Even if you’re not asked for val­i­da­tion, keep in mind that your smart­phone it­self should be locked — re­quir­ing a PIN, pat­tern, pass­word, or bio­met­rics to log in — so that if you ever lose your de­vice, no one can use it to buy things.

Se­cure way to pay

The ma­jor mo­bile pay­ment play­ers do not dis­close any­one’s fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion. Their apps ex­change a unique numer­i­cal “to­ken” in­stead of ac­tual credit or debit card num­bers with the re­tailer. And there is no cost for shop­pers to use them.

If you’re in­trigued by mo­bile pay­ments but would rather dip your toe in the wa­ter rather than dive in head­first, try buy­ing some­thing in­ex­pen­sive with your smart­phone the next time you’re out, such as a cup of cof­fee or mag­a­zine, and you’ll see it’s a fast, con­ve­nient, and se­cure way to pay.


it’s easy, con­ve­nient and se­cure to pay for your pur­chases us­ing your smart­phone or smart­watch.

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