What Is a Mobile Wallet Why Should You Have One?
Oct 19, 2020 9:43:00 AM
For the most part, the Philippines is still very much a cash-centric country. A good majority of the small- and medium-sized businesses in the country—the ones that most Filipinos rely on for everyday goods and sundries—only accept cash. Credit card usage is also relatively low in the country due to strict documentary requirements for application and people’s aversion to annual fees and dues.
In recent years, though, new players have emerged to take the country’s financial scene by storm. Mobile wallets and digital currency or e-money are fueling cashless transactions, quickly becoming the Filipino’s payment method of choice in a post-COVID-19 world.
But what is a mobile wallet, and why should you consider getting one? In this brief primer, we’ll answer those burning questions and list the many advantages of going cashless today.
What Is a Mobile Wallet?
A mobile wallet is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. It is a virtual wallet that can store digital currency as well as debit, credit, or prepaid card information on a mobile device such as a smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch. While it might seem like a newfangled concept, electronic money and mobile wallets have actually been implemented in the Philippines for a while now, starting from their introduction in 2001 by Smart Communications, Inc.
What Are the Advantages of Using a Mobile Wallet?
Enhanced safety and security
By far, one of the biggest advantages of using a mobile wallet is the increased security. It’s undeniably safer than carrying cash or physical credit cards around. In cases of loss or theft of your wallet, chances are high that you’ll never see your money again. Your credit card and its details can also be used to make fraudulent transactions before you are able to report the situation to your bank.
With a mobile wallet app, all of your information can be locked behind a PIN code known only to you. On some devices, you can even set these apps to require biometric information such as your fingerprint or iris scan to log in. Even if you lose your phone, thieves would have to bypass your phone’s lock screen and your mobile wallet app’s PIN screen to gain access to your data.
Another way that mobile wallets can help keep your money safe is the distance it adds from your primary source of funds to the point of sale. For instance, using a virtual card provided by your mobile wallet app to purchase items online lessens your chances of having your actual credit or debit card details stolen. The same goes for when you use your mobile number to pay.
Using your mobile wallet app to scan to pay with a QR code, on the other hand, allows you to make purchases without the need to withdraw cash from an ATM with your debit card, where it may be skimmed. Most mobile wallet apps also offer physical cards that you can link to your account and use in lieu of bank cards. Even if that gets skimmed and your PIN for it is stolen, the thieves will only have access to your mobile wallet balance, not your life savings.
Wide range of uses
A mobile wallet can be used for a wide variety of transactions, not just payments at your favorite stores and restaurants or online shopping. Mobile wallet apps in the Philippines make it easier than ever to settle your monthly utility bills, make government contributions, buy mobile load and data packages, purchase gaming pins, book flights and travel accommodations, and much more.
Opening a mobile wallet account is undoubtedly easier than applying for a credit card. Mobile wallets only require a Philippine-registered mobile number for a basic account. For access to enhanced features, you only need to go through a quick and easy KYC process that involves submitting photos of certain valid government IDs and uploading a video selfie.
Mobile wallets are also convenient in the sense that they lessen your load, literally. You can leave your bulky, heavy wallet with all of its cards, bills, and coins at home and lean fully into the cashless lifestyle! They also allow you to pay more quickly, saving you time at the checkout line.
Some people think that mobile wallets are still very limited, in that they are only accepted at big shopping malls, popular chain restaurants, and other major retail outlets. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Nowadays, many smaller businesses have come to embrace mobile wallets. Taxi cabs and tricycle drivers alike can now accept QR payments. Your local laundromat or favorite neighborhood takeout place probably also accepts e-money through mobile wallet-to-mobile wallet transfers.
Discounts and offers
Finally, one of the best reasons to get a mobile wallet is the discounts, perks and offers. Mobile wallet apps often hold promotions that can help you save money at the cash register. Simply having a mobile wallet account can make you eligible to win fantastic prizes from their raffles and contests. You can also receive cash back when you buy load or purchase from partner merchants.
Going cashless with a mobile wallet isn’t just convenient, it’s also phenomenally rewarding. So what are you waiting for? Download a mobile wallet app today!