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What is a digital wallet?

With so many ways to pay for goods - both online and in shops - you might be looking for a way to make things quicker and simpler.

A digital wallet could be right for you, but it's worth knowing the ins and outs before setting one up.

How does a digital wallet work?

A digital wallet, also known as an e-wallet, is an electronic device that stores all your payment details in one location. It can make it simpler for you to make cashless purchases online and in shops.

As well as storing your payment details for online payment systems like Google Pay and Apple Pay, digital wallets can also connect with traditional bank accounts and store your credit and debit card information. If you’re an HSBC customer, you can add your HSBC card to Apple PayGoogle Pay and Samsung Pay.

How do you set up a digital wallet?

Setting up a digital wallet is straightforward. When you’ve chosen your preferred digital wallet provider, enter your payment information and the system will save it securely in one location.

If you want to use your digital wallet via your phone, you'll need to have the relevant app. This will allow you to make contactless payments in shops.

What are the benefits of having a digital wallet?

Digital wallets can make payments quicker. They offer:

  • A single location for all your payment information, so you no longer need to remember several passwords and PINs
  • Convenience – you can leave your actual wallet at home if you don't want to carry it around
  • The ability to make payments online without having to fill in your payment details every time you want to make a purchase

Are digital wallets safe?

Things like biometric log on with your fingerprint or your face, are a secure way to log on to your mobile device and also apps like the HSBC UK Mobile Banking app.

Digital wallets use authentication and data encryption to protect your personal information, unlike a traditional wallet where someone can access your payment cards if they take it.

Mobile operating devices are better at protecting users from malicious software than desktop operating systems. However, if you use a digital wallet, you should still take extra safety measures to keep your information safe.

These can include:

  • Using a PIN or fingerprint identification protection on your smartphone
  • Being vigilant about keeping track of payments made from your digital wallet

The small print

Apple and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. Google and Google Play are trademarks of Google LLC. Samsung and Samsung Pay are trademarks or registered trademarks of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Use only in accordance with the law.