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Explore the latest happenings at Kirtland FCU and learn about important topics from around the financial world. Here’s your insight!
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Your Digital Wallet

09/25/2020
Ashleigh, K-Staff


Grabbing your weekly groceries, filling up with gas, and weekend shopping—with increasing numbers of retailers accepting digital wallet payments, pulling out a physical card may quickly become a thing of the past.

Digital payments are convenient, valuable, and, best of all, very safe! With some simple setup, you may never want to carry your wallet into a store again.
 

What’s in a digital wallet?

A digital wallet is simply a payment-enabled service, located on a smart device, in which you can store your debit cards, credit cards, gift cards, and membership cards. You can use these services for online and in-app transactions and to send money to others (Person-To-Person services). Digital wallets also allow you to pay at a retailer by placing the device next to the reader to complete the transaction instead of physically swiping or inserting the card to pay. 

There are three major digital wallet services that you likely have access to via your smart devices: Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. The three options are similar but do have a few differences in how they work and what you can do with them.

First, there are a couple of buzz terms you’ll need to know to fully understand how the technology works.
  • Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range method of communication that allows the mobile device to send payment information to a service terminal. All three wallets use NFC.
  • Magnetic Secure Transmission allows a mobile device to mimic the stripe on a traditional payment card. Instead of placing the device near the reader, you slide the phone along with outside of the reader where the you’d traditionally slide a card. The only digital wallet that supports MST payment is Samsung Pay.
To get started with any of the digital wallets, you’ll need to add your cards to your device. The method varies, but you can select your wallet below for detailed instructions on setup. Once you’ve added a card to your wallet, you can use the wallet to make online payments, send money to a friend, or pay at a retailer that accepts digital transactions.

You’ll know a retailer takes digital payments when you see the NFC symbol.  Also, if you see the logo for your wallet—Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.—the payment system is also set up to work with that wallet.


Is it safe to pay with digital wallets?

Digital wallets offer unparalleled levels of convenience, in both your online and in-person shopping experiences. But using digital wallet options to pay is also incredibly safe—in fact, it’s safer to pay with a digital wallet than swiping a traditional card.

When we think of card safety, there are three levels of a sort in terms of security.
  • Level 1 – The Swipe - This is the least secure form of your card payment options. When you swipe a card, all the card information is read from the magnetic stripe on your card and transferred to the merchant directly. No encryption takes place.
  • Level 2 – The Chip - The little chip embedded in your debit and credit card represents a big leap forward in terms of security. During the transfer of information to a merchant, that little chip allows the information to be encrypted during transfer. Most cards issued now include this feature, but not all do.
  • Level 3 – Digital Payments - Using your digital wallet to pay is about the safest options you could choose. The first layer of security is your device security. Your device needs a passcode, fingerprint, or face identification to unlock. And after you do select to pay with your wallet, not only is your information encrypted, it’s not actually transferred at all! Instead, a unique identifier is transferred from your device to the merchant. When the transaction reaches your credit union or financial institution, it’s decrypted, and the unique identifier is used to retrieve your actual card information. Should the transaction be compromised in some way, only that unique identifier is revealed, which doesn’t do a thief much good on its own. The thief would need the identifier AND your device—and be able to unlock your device—to make it work.
Digital payments are not only convenient; they’re incredible safe. Many apps connect with your digital wallet. Grubhub, for instance, allows Apple Pay as a payment option. Simply select Apple Pay during checkout, follow the directions to confirm your choice, and you’re done! More and more retailers, online and physical, are accepting digital payments. Look for the NFC symbol, and start paying without ever pulling out your card.

Need help loading your Kirtland FCU Independence VISA debit or credit card to your digital wallet? Give us a call at 1-800-880-5328.
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