The future is in your pocket
Special report: financial future e-wallets are becoming more popular than ever
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.