Digital wallets have been around and in usage for many years, but recently major companies such as Google, Visa, and Mastercard have been bringing them to the forefront of the commerce sector by introducing their own versions of the same idea. But what exactly is a digital wallet?

What is a digital wallet?

It’s an app that stores your credit card or debit card information, and it has two main benefits. First, you can use it to make contactless payments using just your smartphone instead of needing to carry a physical wallet with you.

Secondly, you can use it to make your online shopping checkout a quicker and easier experience (similar to PayPal). A digital wallet app is usually accessed by way of a username and a password, saving you the effort of filling in a payment form with your personal and card details every time you want to make a payment.
Digital wallet apps for your phone

Digital wallet options available so far in Australia include Android Pay, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Wallet – all encrypted with the same type of fraud detection and payment protection used on debit and credit cards.

Here the latest list of which institutions are currently compatible with which digital wallet apps as of 16 May 2017:

Android Pay / Google Wallet Apple Pay Samsung Pay
American Express American Express American Express
ANZ (for American Express credit cards, MasterCard credit cards, Visa credit and debit cards) ANZ (for American Express credit cards, MasterCard credit cards, Visa credit and debit cards) Citi
Bank Australia Australian Unity Westpac
Bank of Sydney Bank Australia
Bankwest Bank of Sydney
Bendigo Bank Beyond Bank Australia
Beyond Bank Big Sky Building Society Ltd.
Big Sky Building Society CAPE Credit Union Ltd.
CAPE Credit Union Catalyst Money
Catalyst Money Central Coast Credit Union
Central West Credit Union Central Murray Credit Union Ltd.
Community First Credit Union Central West Credit Union Ltd.
Credit Union Australia Community Alliance Credit Union Ltd.
Credit Union SA Community First Credit Union Ltd.
Defence Bank Credit Union SA Ltd.
Family First Credit Union Customs Bank
First Option Credit Union Defence Bank
Goldfields Money Firefighters Mutual Bank
Goulburn Murray Credit Union Co-Op First Option Credit Union
Holiday Coast Credit Union Goldfields Money Ltd.
Horizon Credit Union Goulburn Murray Credit Union
Illawarra Credit Union Holiday Coast Credit Union
ING Direct Horizon Credit Union
Intech Credit Union HSBC (for MasterCard and Visa credit cards)
Laboratories Credit Union ING Direct
Macquarie Bank Intech Credit Union
Maritime, Mining & Power Credit Union Laboratories Credit Union Ltd.
MyState Bank Lombard Finance
Northern Beaches Credit Union Macquarie Bank
Northern Inland Credit Union MyState Bank Ltd.
P&N Bank Nexus Mutual
People’s Choice Credit Union Northern Beaches Credit Union
Police Bank Northern Inland Credit Union
QT Mutual Bank Once Credit
Queenslanders Credit Union P&N Bank
Select Encompass Credit Union People’s Choice Credit Union
South West Slopes Credit Union Police Bank
Sydney Credit Union QT Mutual Bank
Teachers Mutual Bank Select Encompass Credit Union
The Mac Credit Union South West Slopes Credit Union
The Rock Credit Union Sydney Credit Union Ltd.
WAW Credit Union Co-Operative Teachers Mutual Bank
Westpac The Mac
Woolworths Employees’ Credit Union The Rock
Wyong Shire Credit Union UniBank
Unity Bank Ltd.
Warwick Credit Union Ltd.
WAW Credit Union
Woolworths Employees’ Credit Union

Digital wallets are a valuable service considering that according to Visa, up to 86% of mobile users and up to 68% of online desktop users decide not to make purchases due to the process of entering credit card details, addresses, and other information, often on multiple screens.

The major difference is that while PayPal is seen as a computer-based service, the digital payment services being introduced by Visa and Mastercard are tailored for mobile devices. While the services are available on computers, their supposed appeal lies in the ability to make payments from any device.

Digital wallet apps for online shopping

Visa’s digital wallet service is called Visa Checkout, and so far it’s been made available in Australia, Canada, and the USA. Consumers can also store details from other branded cards in their account, making it accessible to those who aren’t Visa card holders.

Visa Checkout replaced, Visa’s first foray into digital wallets.

Rather than officially calling Visa Checkout a digital wallet, the head of Visa Checkout in Asia Pacific Greg Storey described Visa Checkout as a “simplified payments experience”.
Storey said that Visa Checkout was developed in order to reduce the amount of people abandoning online sales due to the need to fill out complex and lengthy forms. As with transactions made via credit cards or debit cards, transactions via Visa Checkout will be bolstered with triple encryption over the network. Visa reports that according to 2015 customer service surveys, there is a 51% increase in customer conversions on average when merchants use Visa Checkout to streamline their checkout process.

MasterCard’s service is called MasterPass, and is available to consumers in Australia, Canada, China, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, the UK, Poland, and South Africa.

It’s a digital platform that allows consumers to access a simplified payment service using any authorised device.

It supports a wide range of point-of-sale transaction types, including NFC, QR codes, tags, mobile devices, and traditional plastic credit cards and debit cards. It also offers a simplified online payment method, similar to PayPal.

MasterPass also enables banks and merchants to offer their own digital wallet, which consumers can securely store their card information in. As with Visa Checkout, MasterPass is an open platform, meaning cards that are not MasterCard branded can still be stored and used to make payments. A major focus of MasterPass is making mobile device-based payments safer, and more accessible.

So if you’re consistently frustrated by the cumbersome forms you have to fill out whenever you buy something online, it might be worth looking into a digital wallet for your online shopping or your smartphone.

Apple Pay Available to Millions of Visa Cardholders

Visa on Mobile Innovation and Commerce


State capture 2

Brisbane rail upgrade



Adani will decimate Australia’s Great Artesian Basin

Unpacking the flaws in Adani's water management plan Matthew Currell, RMIT University and Adrian Werner, Flinders University Adani’s groundwater dependent ecosystem management plan for its proposed...

Paradise Papers