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How Digital Wallets and Mobile Payments Are Evolving and What It Means for You?

Long gone are the days when people paid for things in cash.

Cashless transactions have become the norm today, with mobile wallets and digital payment methods preferred over traditional options. However, skeptics still believe that moving away from the paper currency is dangerous because it breaks away from how money has always been used throughout history. While this might be true, there are many benefits to going cashless.


Digital Wallets and Mobile Payments

In this article, we will look at the state of the cashless economy today and how it is evolving. The first section explores various digital wallet platforms available out there. The second section discusses mobile payments and their importance in a cashless world. The third section discusses other alternatives to paper currencies that you can use for your daily purchases. Finally, the last section provides a quick checklist of what you need to do to move towards a cashless lifestyle.

Let's start by discussing digital wallets and how they work.

What Is a Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet refers to an electronic storage system where people store cards, coupons, or loyalty programs, so they don't have to carry them. For instance, if you do your grocery shopping at Safeway store or buy food at Starbucks regularly, you can get their loyalty programs loaded onto your digital wallet. Therefore, the next time you visit these stores, show your barcode on your phone, and you will be able to get discounts or rebates on your purchases. Many major retailers such as Wal-Mart allow their customers to download items from their catalog into a mobile app that acts as a virtual shopping cart.

In addition to loyalty programs, people store all sorts of payment cards in their digital wallets today. For example, a startup called Coin makes a single device that can store up to credit/debit cards electronically. This way, you don't have to carry all your cards when you leave the house. You need to remember one Coin device, and that is it! As a result, people who use this service minimize the number of cards they carry in their wallets.

The concept of digital wallets has evolved rapidly over the past few years, and we will discuss some of the most popular platforms in this section.

Google Wallet:

The Search Giant launched its Google Wallet app in 2011 with an intent to allow consumers to easily purchase anything over their phones without having to reach for their wallets. However, it never gained much transaction because other companies such as Apple Pay came out with simpler options for customers to understand and use. It seems like consumers are more comfortable with Apple's unified payment platform than Google's fragmented approach. So, it is interesting to see how the two biggies in the digital space battle it out.

Apple Pay:

The Cupertino-based company launched its mobile wallet app back in 2014 and has since become extremely popular among consumers. It was initially only available on iPhone 6 models but has now been expanded across many other smartphones as well. In terms of security, Apple uses fingerprint scanner technology on newer iPhones to authenticate buyers so that their identity cannot be compromised while shopping online or within an app. It also provides users with a Passbook facility where they can store boarding passes, tickets, or coupons. Meanwhile, some credit card companies have also started offering cash bonuses if a person uses Apple Pay to make a purchase. For example, American Express offers users up to $20 cash back if they are using the platform for the first time.

Google Wallet vs. Apple Pay:

The Google Wallet vs. Apple Pay battle is not easy to predict because both companies have completely different platforms that can co-exist in the mobile payment space. Furthermore, while Google Wallet was initially restricted to NFC (tap + pay) technology, Apple introduced its tap and paid features with iOS 11. So it remains to be seen how these two competing technologies will influence each other over the next few years.


Digital wallets and mobile payments are continuing to evolve. This means that there are more options available for consumers and businesses alike. As this technology continues to grow, it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest changes so that you can take advantage of them. Have you tried using a digital wallet or mobile payment system? What was your experience like?

Infographic created by Clover, a retail POS system company