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What is a digital wallet?

With so many ways to pay for goods these days – both online and in-store – you might be looking 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 do digital wallets work?

A digital wallet is an electronic device that stores all your payment details in one location. They can make it safer and simpler for you to make cashless purchases online and in-store.

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 Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay.

How do you set up a digital wallet?

Setting up your own 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 smartphone, which will allow you to make in-store contactless payments, you'll need to have the relevant app.

What are the benefits of having a digital wallet?

Digital wallets can make payments quicker, easier and more secure. 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

How safe is a digital wallet?

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

And 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, users of digital wallets should still implement additional safety measures to keep their information safe.

These can include:

  • using a PIN or fingerprint identification protection on your smartphone
  • avoiding using unsecure Wi-Fi networks wherever possible
  • being vigilant about keeping track of payments made from your digital wallet
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