How safe are mobile wallets?

The way people buy products is changing rapidly as digital technology develops. It’s now possible to buy products online by tapping a single button on your phone. In stores, you need only tap your phone on a reader.

That’s all happened thanks to mobile wallets. Mobile wallets are known for their speed and convenience, but are they safe and secure?

Are mobile wallets secure?

Absolutely. In fact, mobile wallets are often safer than carrying around all of your debit and credit cards together. 

The magnetic black strip found on the back of most cards means they can be easily read by any magnetic scanner. That leaves your personal information at the risk of being cloned should your physical card ever leave your sight.  

Not only are digital wallets well protected against fraud, their security technology is constantly being updated to provide extra protection around the clock. This includes improved user experience and better protection of sensitive data.

And just like Azimo’s secure app and website, most mobile devices require a passcode, fingerprint or face recognition ID to access the e-wallet in the first place. If you don’t use one of these phone security measures then now’s the time to set one up.

What is a mobile wallet?

Also known as an electronic wallet, e-wallet or digital wallet, a mobile wallet is a virtual duplicate of your physical wallet. They’re usually stored on your smartphone, although you can also access them via a tablet. 

Most cards in your real wallet can be added to your e-wallet. These include:

  • Debit and credit cards.
  • Supermarket points cards.
  • Boarding passes.
  • Tickets to events.  

How do mobile wallets work?

In the era of the smartphone, it’s likely you’ll have either an iOS (Apple Pay) or Android device (Google Pay). The good news is that most new devices come with a mobile wallet pre-installed, so getting started is quick and easy.  

Through modern technology called near field communication (NFC), you can use your digital wallet without even touching a card reader. NFC is the same principle that allows smartphones to read QR readers and connect to bluetooth networks. 

In the case of mobile wallets, NFC allows you to make what are commonly known as contactless payments. This is especially helpful during the coronavirus pandemic, as the reduced contact helps limit the spread of the disease.  

Benefits of a mobile wallet

As we’ve mentioned before, mobile wallets are great if you’re looking for speed and easy access to your payment cards. They also act as a back-up version you can still use if you misplace your wallet.

You can also send money abroad to mobile wallets in foreign countries using a service like Azimo. Register today in just a few minutes and you’ll get your first two transfers fee-free. 

Disadvantages of mobile wallets

While we’ve just talked about the many advantages of mobile wallets, there are some downsides to the technology. 

The first is that electronic wallet payments are not yet available worldwide. This is changing rapidly, but it’s still worth bearing in mind when you head to a shop in a foreign country. 

Next up, mobile wallets can encourage careless spending. Mobile wallets are so easy and convenient that many people don’t notice how much they’re spending.

Finally, some retailers may only accept either their own mobile wallets or just one type of electronic wallet but not others. 

For example, you might find that some Samsung Pay transactions won’t work on Apple devices and that Apple Pay does not work on Android points of sale. 

This is less of a problem in the UK, where most contactless card readers are standardised.

Should I leave my real wallet at home?

Although you can, we advise against it. That’s because all mobile devices can run out of battery. Equally, the store’s reader might not be working. For these reasons, it’s always good to have a Plan B just in case.  

Azimo is the faster, cheaper way to send money abroad. Set up an account in minutes, download the app and transfer funds to almost anywhere in the world. Get your first two transfers fee-free, at a fantastic exchange rate. Register today to start sending online payments