Digital Wallets: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Identity and Your Money Safe
As a majority of American consumers own smartphones, they also have easy access to digital wallets. A growing number of people are exploring the digital alternative to the traditional wallet: At least 110 million Americans report having used one to make a payment either online or in person.
A digital wallet is usually software that runs on a mobile device that authorizes an individual to make electronic transactions. By applying an advanced method of cryptography, digital wallets enable users to make mobile or online payments more easily than with cash and more safely than with credit cards.
Even though it’s ultimately more secure, many people, particularly those over the age of 35, simply feel unsafe using digital wallets. This is, in part, because they don’t understand the added security benefits inherent to digital wallets that protect their personal and payment card information far better than traditional wallets.
Carrying your debit and credit cards with you exposes them to theft, especially when they are handed over to complete strangers in order to complete a payment. With digital wallets, however, cryptographic tokenization replaces your card number with a unique digital identifier that allows payments to be made from your accounts without exposing sensitive information that thieves could target in a breach attempt. The information is accessible only via password or biometric key such as your fingerprint.
Because the personal data from your debit, credit, and bank account numbers are never stored on your phone in the first place, hackers would need to find another way to steal them. Considering that token numbers are randomly assigned — it is virtually impossible to reverse engineer or compromise a token — it’s safe to assume that they’ll look for easier targets before trying to break in to your digital wallet.
Even if a hacker does break through, stealing a token is useless outside the system that provided it. Because of that, a hacker can’t actually use the information he has stolen. The additional layers of security — along with the ease, convenience, and economy — also are why the technology used by cryptocurrency and digital wallets complement each other so well. New explorations into blockchain offer the promise of transparency, and the wallet’s personal key means that only user carelessness can compromise its security.
As our society continues to move increasingly into all things digital, the old payment methods require stronger protections from fraud and identity theft. Digital wallets are your best defense in the battle to safeguard your information, and it’s time that we all embrace them.