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Use- In-store and Online

Virtual Wallets are slowly becoming more and more common.  To use the Google wallet at an online store, they must feature one of two specific “Google Buy” and “Google Checkout” buttons.  Once you click on the button to make your purchase, you simply sign into your wallet account to pay.

Paypal is a very common banking method that people use.  It is somewhat of a virtual wallet, it stores your information securely, and you enter your account info to make payments just as the google wallet above.

Unlike the google wallet, you cannot swipe your phone at a physical location to make a payment from paypal.  With Google wallet, if the stores have certain kind of readers at their checkouts, you are able to swipe you phone over the reader to pay that way.

These new payment methods are an interesting way of combining e-commerce with brick and mortar stores.

Similar to the Google wallet, Starbucks has an application for your smartphone for payment as well.  You download the app and then add funds to your payment card on your phone.  At the store, you can just swipe your phone and you have paid.

The different wallets and cards available for your smart phone come with various other features as well.  Many of them link other accounts you have with the same company.  This automatically puts any coupons or savings you have all into one place,so anytime you are shopping with those people, all related info will automatically be used.  It can also be used to create a profile of you at your favorite stores, potentially creating better service for yourself.

Security

We all know, love and depend on Google in our daily lives.  They, too, have entered the ring of the virtual wallet.  The Google wallet is touted as more secure than the typical wallet and physical cards you hold.  It features a pin lock that must be entered for every purchases.  This helps ensure that there are no purchases made from someone’s pocket and that the correct individual is the one doing the transaction.  Another security feature is that the card information once entered is never shown.  If your phone is lost, then it is similar to dealing with a lost or stolen wallet where you call in to inform and cancel, both Google and your banks.

The Virtual Wallet

The virtual wallet started as a means of storing our payment information online so that when checkout time came, we simply entered the information for our virtual wallet.  More recently, it has expanded into smart phones.  When users go to a brick and mortar location, like Starbucks for example, they can use the virtual wallet on their mobile phones to pay at checkout.

Virtual wallets vary by user and company, but they can store bank account information as well as other important documents, like driver’s license and health cards.  Relating to in store purchases, they may also have their loyalty cards linked to the wallet so just by paying they are automatically receiving the discounts and coupons the store offers.

There are two different types of the general digital wallet.  The first kind is maintained by the user.  This is a client side software where a person can maintain their current information.  The software is supposed to provide security and encryption of one’s personal information.

There is also a server-side virtual wallet that is called a thin wallet.  This thin wallet is created and maintained by a major retailer.  They choose to provide these because of the security and efficiency that it gives the customer which increases their enjoyment of the purchase.

The client side virtual wallet that most individuals would use are widely accepted on e-commerce sites. This helps improve their sales due to a reduction in users quitting during a complicated checkout process.

What does the virtual wallet mean for us?

Over the past few years, our wallets have started to become digitized.  This raises many questions for society.

Is this a safe practice?

Will our information be secure?

Does it create extra room for fraud?

Do you think we will always have cash as a common means of spending?

Will people continue to carry physical wallets?

How will this affect commerce?

Will it create a preference to shop at store that you have an e-card for?

Will brick and mortar stores that are lacking an online presence be able to keep up?

The Virtual Wallet

Over the past decade millions of us have grown accustomed to this virtual world that has been created on the internet.  We no longer have to go anywhere.  You can order take-out online to be delivered while doing your grocery shopping and browsing new clothes.  We can email, chat, post, and respond to tons of people without ever leaving our home.  Or we can leave our home all the while chatting on a device and never even speaking to the people actually around us.  We use the internet to eat, shop, watch movies, date, do homework, study our medical conditions and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Many of these things require payment, so we pull out our wallet, try to ensure the site is secure, and proceed to enter our credit card information.  Then, we started to save our information with paypal and use our paypal information to pay for things online.  However, when going to pick up our morning coffee, we couldn’t exactly leave the cashier with our email to send us a paypal bill later.  Well, now companies are creating applications for our devices that we can store a balance for that specific store, put our gift cards, and simply swipe our phone at the register rather than pull out our wallet.

The virtual wallet is growing to accommodate our consumerist, ever-technology connected lives, and I am here to explore just that.

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