Instant, convenient and easy-to-use. Digital wallets sum up how we prefer to pay these days, and with thousands available to choose from online, their use is only going to increase.
This has led to a boom in the number of things we can do with our virtual accounts: a whole new world of online opportunities that were out of our reach just a few years ago.
Here are five of the coolest things you can do with your digital wallet right now.
Voice-activated payments (smart speakers)
Voice-activated payments, otherwise known as smart speakers, have been around for a while now, but they are only starting to become mainstream.
One of the most popular voice-activated payments is Amazon’s Alexa. It can be used to pay for goods and services by just saying the name of the product or service that you want to buy. In all, it’s believed that in the US alone, there are over 120 million smart speakers, compared to just 20 million in 2017.
This new technology has also been introduced by Apple and Google in the last few years and is spreading all over the world. They both offer their own services that make it possible for people to pay for things without having to pull out their cards: instead, they sign in to their digital wallet (I.e. Google or Apple Pay) and verbally complete the purchase in there.
Online publication The Fintech Times predicts that voice payments will increase to a total of $19.4 billion by 2023, as more and more consumers become comfortable with the technology.
Play games in other countries
One of these is playing games outside of our home country. In the past, restrictions between national banks often made it difficult to make game deposits, but now it’s much easier thanks to the international scope of many top wallets.
Playing the lottery is one example. Largely a domestic-based pursuit in years gone by, players can now play from wherever they like. Major lotteries have signed up to digital wallet deposits, including the US Powerball lottery which now allows overseas deposits. Video games, too, have many virtual wallet options, with Fortnite allowing scores of payment methods.
By breaking free of borders, digital wallets have grown exponentially since their introduction, and will continue to do so for some time to come.
You may not be sure what embedded payment are, but you’ve almost certainly used them in the past.
Put simply, they’re a payment method integrated within an app, with Uber and DoorDash being two of the most famous examples of embedded finance. They let customers place an order and pay for it in the same place, which is way more convenient.
Businesses also love them because they increase conversion rates and help protect merchants from fraud and chargebacks.
Digital wallets and embedded payments are a natural fit, so it’s no surprise that we’ll be seeing them in many more apps over the next few years. This might include your local gym or supermarket app, as they gradually become a bigger part of everyday life.
Many consumers have worried that rewards they earn from major credit cards won’t transmit to digital wallets, but 2022 has been the year where major digital providers have put that fear to rest.
Samsung Pay and Google Pay already offer bonuses to shoppers with select merchants via their apps, while American Express has assured members that they will still get benefits on compatible Apple Pay rewards cards.
Despite their public proclamations, it is always sensible to check the terms and conditions of your agreement to double-check that you’re eligible for these perks.
That said, with more wallets signing up than ever, the chances of you benefiting from both credit card and virtual payment rewards have increased dramatically. Some even believe that perks like loyalty points may even become mobile wallets’ primary currency.
Near Field Communication (NFC) technology
NFC is a short-range wireless communication technology which enables the transfer of data between two devices. It can be used for various applications, including contactless ticketing, public transport (using NFC-enabled e-tickets), and sharing digital content like photos or videos.
In terms of digital wallets, NFC-powered transactions won’t just be contactless, but they’ll also replace payment terminals. Any mobile device with an NFC chip can act as a point-of-sale (POS) device, which explains why Visa saw such payments rise by 30% last year.
The trend will continue into 2023 and beyond when it’s expected to become the most popular way of paying for goods in person, especially given the heightened sensitivity toward hygiene following the pandemic.
To sum up, it’s time for digital wallets to step up to the plate – and from what we’ve seen already this year, they’re more than ready to meet the challenge.