As a kid, the rush you felt when someone handed you a $5 bill was unmatched. Today, there is a plethora of options to choose from, be it to send money to your friends and family, to share a bill at a restaurant, or to pay for goods and services – and you can do it all online through an app, or website called a digital wallet!
Digital wallets allow users to use their phone numbers to send and receive money without the need to share other personal information. Users can link their debit cards, credit cards, or bank accounts to the app and use it to make transfers. The most attractive feature of digital wallets is that they allow you to make transact with a tap of a button on your phone right where you are.
While some older methods of transferring money are still popular, especially due to their legitimacy and security, digital wallets that have been introduced in recent years are more convenient and accessible. Each of them comes with their unique features, as well as pros and cons.
How Do Digital Wallets Work?
Digital wallets transmit data by utilizing the wireless functionalities of a smartphone such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and magnetic signals. Here are some of the technologies most digital wallets make use of:
- NFC (Near-Field Communication): Using electromagnetic signals, two devices can connect and transfer data between each other. NFC only works when the two devices are less than 4 inches apart.
- QR Codes: Serving as the updated version of the older barcodes, they call on the smartphone’s camera and scanning system. QR codes eliminate the possibility of error.
- Magnetic Secure Transmission: Similar to the technology harnessed by magnetic card readers that read your debit or credit card when it is swipe through the machine, your smartphones employs an encrypted field that is read by the POS system.
Here are some of the most popular digital wallets in the market right now:
Although there are so many options to send money online today, PayPal was the first one to introduce this revolutionary idea to the general public. This makes it one of the most legitimate ways to send money online. However, you must be very careful to verify the receiver’s information because it can be near impossible to retrieve the funds if you send them to the wrong address.
PayPal allows verified users to send up to $60,000 domestically – although you may be limited to $10,000 in a single transaction. The service can be accessed through an app or browser and can be used to transfer money internationally as well. The only downside to PayPal is that the transaction speed can be a bit slow.
Venmo is a popular digital wallet that can be used to send money. It is especially popular among friends because of the social aspect of the app which includes a comment section with text and emojis. Venmo makes it easy to split payments when sharing a purchase among two or more people. Verified users can send up to $60,000 per week, but international transactions are not accommodated.
There is no charge levied when transferring money through your debit card, bank account, or Venmo balance, but a credit card transfer carries a 3% charge. Venmo is also makes transactions public to all users, which can infringe on users privacy.
Through Cash App, you can design your own debit card and send money to friends and family free of charge, domestically and internationally. You can also top-up your in-app wallet and transfer that money to others or your own bank account. Cash App charges a small fee for instant transfers and none for delayed ones.
Additionally, you can opt to have your paychecks deposited directly into Cash App. You can purchase and access investments through the app using cash and cryptocurrencies. This digital wallet also comes with the option to store coupons, loyalty cards, membership cards, tickets and boarding passes in the wallet area.
Apple Pay allows users to link their credit or debit cards, or other online payment sources to make purchases. The app also gives the users the option to set up a digital “Apple Cash” card, through which users can maintain a separate balance that can be utilized to send money and transfer it to their bank accounts as they wish. The downside, however, is that it is only available to iOS users and that there can be system performance issues on older models.
Google Pay provides much of the same services as Apple Pay, but is available in Apple and Android devices. Users can link their bank account or credit or debit card to send and receive money and also to pay for goods and services through the app or browser.
You can send money with just the receiver’s phone number or UPI (Unified Payments Interface) ID. Money received through Google Pay, or GPay, will be transferred directly to your bank account. Businesses can partner with GPay to provide unique discounts and deals.
Collaborating with banks and credit unions, users of Zelle can make quick transfers to friends and family who are also signed up to the service. Typically, Zelle payments are set up directly on the website of the user’s bank account.You can still send money through Zelle if the receiver doesn’t have an account. They will be sent a text or email prompt to set one up within two weeks.
Another limitation of Zelle is that you cannot make international transfers and your bank may have certain spending limits set for transactions. However, the company has put safety at the highest of their priorities. According to their policy, a user can get their money back “if a scammer or hacker gains unauthorized access to a bank account” and “victims can work directly with their bank for a refund.”
Dwolla is a another revolutionary Automated Payment Processing services that operates using digital wallet functionalities. It is a service that focuses on A2A (account to account) transfers, helping companies streamline the financial aspect of running their business.
Dwolla allows users to transfer money between bank accounts and credit unions to conduct financial duties such as paying employees, receiving payments for products and services, or making investments. It can also integrate with other business apps like slack and Plaid. Dwolla has low transaction fees and is very secure, making it a reliable choice for businesses.