You have probably seen men’s wallets bulging at the seams and women scouting their purses to look for a particular card. This comes as no surprise, given that an average American has two to three credit cards, and you may add to this a bunch of debit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards. Fortunately, recent times have witnessed the arrival of different digital wallets, giving consumers some much needed respite.
While the terms digital and mobile wallets are often used interchangeably, they come with one basic difference. You may access a digital wallet using an internet-enabled desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. A mobile wallet, on the other hand, is meant particularly for smartphones.
It is not just individuals who are turning to digital wallets. Merchants from different parts of the world are embracing this technology as well. According to a report in Your Story, the use of digital wallets has resulted in increased sales and improved customer loyalty. Besides, merchants have also started using this medium as a marketing tool by offering rewards. Data suggests that mobile wallets are the fourth preferred marketing channel in the U.S. In the UK, they rank second.
Some of the most commonly used mobile wallets are operating system of device specific. Examples in case include Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. PayPal’s digital wallet, on the other hand, works with almost all devices.
5 Best Digital & Mobile Wallets in the USA
Here are some of the best digital and mobile wallets you may use in the United States.
1. Android Pay
This is a mobile wallet provided by Google, for phones that run on Android. You may use it to make in-store and in-app payments. While Android Pay comes preloaded on several phones, it is also available for download through the Google Play store. Your phone should have KitKat 4.4 or a newer version of Android and it should come with near field communication (NFC) technology.
You get the ability to use most credit and debit cards issued in the U.S. with Android Pay, and this includes American Express and Discover cards. For enhanced safety, you receive payment confirmation for all purchases with details such as the merchant’s name, location, and phone number.
Android Pay lets you store gift and loyalty cards and some merchants use it to offer coupons and deals.
2. Apple Pay
The mobile wallet is meant specifically for iPhones and the Apple Watch. It is compatible with all phones that came after iPhone 6, although you may also use it an iPhone 5 if it is paired with an Apple Watch. You can load details of most credit and debits cards issued n the U.S., and then make payments at brick-and-mortar establishments that have contactless point-of-sales systems. To make in-app purchases, you may use it with an iPad as well.
Like Android Pay, Apple Pay also relies on NFC technology. However, unlike its Android counterpart, Apple Pay gives you only basic transaction related information, leaving out the merchant’s contact information and location. It does not let you scan receipts and attach them to transaction information either.
Apple Pay is part of the Apple Wallet that you may also use to store coupons, loyalty cards, travel tickets, and boarding passes.
3. Samsung Pay
The Samsung Pay mobile wallet gives you the ability to use your Samsung Galaxy phone to tap and make in-store payments. However, it works only with newer Samsung Galaxy variants such as S6 Edge+ and Note5. Other than using NFC technology, this mobile wallet also relies on magnetic secure transmission (MST) technology. The latter is a welcome addition because of which you get to use this wallet with just about every card reader that requires swiping of cards.
This wallet lets you add up to 10 debit and credit cards, accepting cards issued by all major American banks. While it works with American Express, it does not accept Discover cards yet. It lets you add gift cards from 50 merchants.
The PayPal digital wallet app is available for Android, Apple, and Windows devices. Like other wallets, it lets you store credit and debit cards. What sets this wallet apart from most others is that it lets you link your bank account, and you may also carry a PayPal balance. This gives you an added payment method when making purchases.
You may use this wallet with credit and debit cards issued by most American banks. It lets you add your loyalty cards. You get discounts and coupons from participating merchants for in-store and online shopping. Around 75% of the biggest online retailers in the U.S. accept payments via PayPal, and its acceptance across brick-and-mortar establishments is also on the rise.
Another benefit is that PayPal provides an overseas money transfer facility.
5. Capital One Wallet
This mobile wallet from Capital One Bank is available for download on Android and Apple phones, and you may use it with your Capital One Bank and Capital One 360 debit and credit cards. It lets you tap and pay at brick-and-mortar stores, and also gives you the ability to keep track of your transactions. When used along with the Capital One mobile app, you can pay bills and manage your accounts.
Like Android Pay, this mobile wallet provides transaction details that include merchants’ names, locations, and contact details. It lets you take pictures of receipts that you may attach to transactions. You may use it to store up to 25 gift cards.
There has been a considerable shift toward a digital economy after a number of reliable digital and mobile wallets have entered the mainstream. While the one you should select may just depend on the device you use, remember that there are other factors to consider as well.
Author Bio: Jon’s job involves researching leading overseas money transfer companies from different parts of the world, which also has him working as a “mystery shopper” every once in a while. Outside of work, he devotes most of his time exploring new music from across genres.