How to use a mobile wallet
Setting up and using a mobile wallet comes down to three basic steps. That’s all well and good but if you don’t know what they are, it’s not so simple. We’re going to break it down for you, so you can start taking advantage of all the convenience and security benefits of mobile wallets.
- Do you have a smartphone? Great. You’re already on your way.
- Stop by your app store. Which app store you have depends on which type of smartphone you have. For some lucky ones, your mobile wallet may already be built into your phone! Some of the most common wallets are: Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Android Pay. There are more, but let’s keep it simple.
- Download the mobile wallet of your choice. Again, to keep it simple, if you have an Apple phone, you can take advantage of Apple Pay; Samsung users can use Samsung Pay, and so on. These apps are all free. And as you know, every dollar counts these days, so free is great.
- The app will then walk you through the steps to get it set up, which include entering your credit, debit, and loyalty card details.
- Once your app is set up, you’re ready to go shopping. When you check out at participating merchants, open your mobile wallet, choose the card you want to pay with, and hold your phone up to the payment terminal.
But is it secure?
Have you ever lost your wallet? Whoever finds it has immediate access to all of your credit cards, debit cards, and any cash you may have had in your wallet. Here’s why a mobile wallet is a more secure option:
- Unlike magnetic strips, which are fairly easy to read for those who want to read them, mobile payments encrypt your credit card details so that the actual card number is never given, and isn’t stored on the point-of-sale device.
- You can protect your smartphone with a passcode. Plus, you can even add an additional level of security and add a passcode to the mobile wallet itself. AND smartphones come with “find my phone” options—your physical wallet, not so much.
- If you leave your phone behind somewhere, you’re much more likely to notice sooner than if you leave your physical wallet. Why? According to Text Request, Americans check their phones 150 times a day. Compare that to how often you reach for your wallet and, yes, that phone is going to cause a void much quicker.
What if I lose my phone?
While losing your phone is no less stressful or simple to resolve than losing your wallet, there are steps you can take that will secure your information and keep your funds safe much quicker than when you lose your wallet.
First, contact your carrier as soon as possible and let them know your phone has been lost or stolen. They can block use of your mobile wallet. If your Find My Phone isn’t giving you any clues and you think your phone has been stolen, then yes, you’re still going to want to call your credit card companies and your bank to alert them. Even though your account information is encrypted on your phone, let’s not take chances with that hard earned money of yours. Get new card numbers and have the old ones canceled.
Overall, the benefits of using a mobile wallet can far exceed the risks. And hey, if you’re not sure, get your feet wet with adding one card to start.
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