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Digital Wallets: A New Way to Pay

Oct 4, 2016 | 4 minute read

Digital Wallets A New Way to Pay

With an increase in demand for convenient services, there has been a surge in digital alternatives to your everyday wallet; they are called digital wallets. They’re growing in popularity but many are still wondering exactly how they work and if their information will be secure. 

A digital wallet acts as a virtual replacement of your physical wallet to simplify your checkout experience. Whether you’re shopping online, in-store, or in-app, digital wallets give you the ability to use your credit and debit cards without using the plastic card itself.

There are two different types of digital wallets, mobile and online. Both have unique features but offer a new standard of security and convenience.

Online vs. Mobile

Online digital wallets, such as MasterPass™ and Visa® Checkout, offer an improved check-out experience when shopping online. These wallets eliminate the need to enter card and shipping details during the checkout process. MasterPass or Visa Checkout may be used wherever you see their logos. Once you’ve signed into your account, simply follow the prompts and complete your purchase in just a few clicks or taps. 

Though they are named MasterPass (by MasterCard) and Visa Checkout (by Visa), you can include any brand card in the online digital wallet. For example, within MasterPass, you can include: Visa®, Discover®, Diners Club®, and prepaid cards; the same applies with Visa Checkout. 

Mobile digital wallets are used for in-store or in-app purchases and the wallet you choose depends on the mobile device you use. If you are a GECU credit cardholder, you have the option to choose Apple Pay®, Android Pay®, or Samsung Pay®. If you have a debit card, you can utilize Apple Pay (Samsung and Android Pay for GECU debit cards will be coming soon). Once you’ve downloaded the app, set-up is easy; simply add your credit and/or debit card by manually entering or scanning your card info. When you’re ready to use your mobile digital wallet in-store, simply tap or hold your mobile device near the checkout terminal. Depending on the wallet, your device may ask for your fingerprint or a PIN to approve the transaction. You may also have the option to use your mobile wallet to store gift cards, loyalty cards, and coupons. 

How is your information secure?

Digital wallets are secure. They use a concept called “tokenization” to process transactions. Tokenization is the process of substituting your card information with a unique series of numbers. This prevents the merchant from having or transmitting your payment and personal information; the information transferred is meaningless in a system breach or to a data hacker. Digital wallets act similarly to EMV cards in that they disguise and no longer transmit actual account numbers. They go one step further than an EMV card, as they allow you to make safe and convenient purchases online or in-app, in addition to in-store.

An online digital wallet requires you to setup a personal online account through MasterPass or Visa Checkout. You’ll create a username and password, choose from multiple security questions, and add your card and shipping information. When you see the MasterPass or Visa Checkout logos, you’ll be asked for these credentials to confirm your purchase. You can rest easy knowing your personal information isn’t stored in multiple merchant’s websites, it’s turned into a useless token. 

Mobile digital wallets, like online digital wallets, turn your card account and personal information into a token (only the token is stored on your mobile device) and require you to have security features, such as a fingerprint or PIN, activated on your device. If you remove the security features, the mobile wallet will not operate.

  • Lost or stolen device - If your mobile device is ever lost or stolen, you can utilize “find my phone” features to remotely deactivate the service or even wipe your device clean. You can also contact your card provider and request that your card be deactivated within the digital wallet, allowing you to use your physical card without any restrictions. 
  • Lost or stolen card - If you lose the physical card itself, contact your card provider and request to deactivate your physical card and the digital wallet card or you can remove the card yourself from your digital wallet. Once you are re-issued a new card, add it to your digital wallet.

Where can you use your digital wallet?

You can use digital wallets at any participating merchant’s location, website, or app. As popularity grows, so does the list of participating merchants. For each of the wallets offered, click the link to see an updated list of participating merchants: Visa Checkout, MasterPass, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay

Choose Your Wallet

We’re proud to offer a variety of wallets so you can choose the one, or several, that fits your needs. Visit our Digital Wallet Solutions page for more information about each of the wallets we offer, including set-up instructions.