If the increase in the use of mobile banking apps in the U.S. is any indicator — having grown from 46 percent in 2015, to 63 percent in 2017, according to TSYS’s 2017 U.S. Consumer Payment Study — then the broader adoption of mobile payment technology, such as digital wallets, may not be far behind.

The digital wallet has the capability to change the way you shop and pay for goods and services. However, this technology currently is more widely used in countries such as China (47 percent) and Norway (42 percent), compared to 17 percent of smartphone users in the U.S., according to industry data.

And it’s not all about having access to the technology: According to the same industry data, while 39 percent of smartphone users report having a digital wallet application, only 5 percent say they use their digital wallet for payments once a week or more. There also are variations in interest and usage based on the consumer’s age: not surprisingly, younger smartphone users are more likely to transact via a digital wallet app.

Two top issues that come to mind, when you’re considering replacing your physical wallet with a digital one, are security and convenience. Here’s how digital wallets address these and other concerns.

Digital Wallets Can Help Keep Your Information Safe

With the frequent reports of data breaches, security remains a concern. When you’re storing sensitive information on your smartphone, you want to know that the information isn’t easy to access if someone steals or hacks into your phone. Also, consumers trust certain authentication methods — used to log in to mobile apps and digital wallets — more than others: 69 percent prefer to authenticate by using a passcode; 63 percent prefer using a fingerprint, as reported in the TSYS study.

Many digital wallets have incorporated security features into the design. Apple Pay, for example, doesn’t store the details of your transactions, so they can’t be tied back to you. Only your most recent purchases are kept in-wallet for your convenience and, instead of using your actual credit card number, your card details are not shared with merchants.

Digital Wallets Are Convenient

Another issue is convenience. Since credit cards themselves are not particularly inconvenient to use, how can digital wallets appeal to consumers who are already pretty happy with how they pay for things?

Most of today’s mobile payment platforms are contactless — meaning they allow you to pay for transactions simply by holding your phone up to a card reader at checkout. Your phone then transmits a secure signal carrying your payment information, and will prompt you to verify the purchase, either by entering a code or providing your fingerprint. You never have to remove a credit card from your physical wallet.

What’s more, many retailers allow you to earn and track rewards, buy and load gift cards, order and pay in advance and even load discounts through your mobile payment app, so you may enjoy increased savings, along with the increased convenience.

Setting Up Your Wallet’s Default Card Is Easy

Depending on which mobile wallet you use, you have the option of identifying one credit card as your “default card.” It’s easy to make Discover your default card. You also can set up fraud alerts, which will notify you if suspicious or unusual activity is detected on your account. Discover offers a $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee as well, which means that you are not liable for unauthorized purchases on your Discover card account.

When you’re ready to take the digital wallet for a test drive, adding your Discover card is a great way to start. Whether you’re using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay or another digital wallet, just sign into the app and you’ll soon be on your way to enjoying the convenience and security of contactless payments.

Originally published April 7, 2016

Updated March 25, 2019

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