There used to be a time when traveling meant carrying a heavy wallet stacked with cash and multiple debit or credit cards. If you run out of cash, you would need to find an ATM to withdraw money, which could pose a hassle if you’re in an unfamiliar place, such as a foreign country.
However, the use of e-wallets has totally changed this scenario. Advancements in digital technology—plus a heightened awareness of safety precautions as a result of the pandemic—have made e-wallets popular and necessary for travelers.
What is an eWallet?
An e-wallet also goes by the name of a digital wallet. It is a mobile application that is used for financial transactions, replacing traditional payment methods that primarily use cash. With an e-wallet app on your mobile device, you can pay for purchases or services and use it in the same way you use a physical wallet.
Some examples of digital wallets are PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. Many e-wallet apps can be used for international and local transactions.
You can use an e-wallet by linking it with your bank account and credit or debit cards, allowing you to choose multiple payment methods for your digital transactions. Your bank and card details are securely stored in your e-wallet app to enable swift and easy payments. For instance, you no longer need to carry your cards when you go shopping or dine out.
How does an eWallet Work?
An e-wallet application basically utilizes the capacities of a mobile device—smartphones and tablets—although some apps can also be used on laptops and desktops. Through a mobile device’s wireless capabilities, an e-wallet is able to transmit payment to a point-of-sale (POS) system. In return, the POS receives and reads the data regarding the payment.
A digital wallet app on your mobile device uses the following technology:
1. Quick response (QR) codes
You can send payment using your mobile device camera to take a screenshot of a merchant’s QR code. The e-wallet app then uses its scanning system to identify where the payment will be directed. Payment processors then route the amount from your bank or card network to a specific merchant.
2. Near-field communication (NFC)
NFC technology requires the use of two smart devices to connect through electromagnetic signals. Thus, the devices must be near—approximately 4 cm from each other—to transfer the information, such as bank information or payment details.
3. Magnetic secure transmission
Payment is transmitted to the point of sale through an encrypted field generated by your mobile device. This method is similar to the concept used by a magnetic card reader where you swipe your card.
Benefits of Using an E-wallet When Travelling
Having an e-wallet with you when you travel affords you these conveniences, which are now possible in today’s digital world.
1. You can easily organize what you need
Some e-wallets let you store important information, such as those on ID cards, driver’s licenses, membership cards, loyalty cards, plane tickets, hotel reservations, and event tickets, among other things.
Plus, with your financial information—like your bank account and credit card details—already stored in your e-wallet app, you do not always have to take these cards with you. This will take a few items off your packing list. Aside from this functionality, you will find that by consolidating everything you need in your e-wallet, you can access anything easily.
2. You can avoid the stress of losing or forgetting items when you travel
You do not want to be in a situation wherein you forget to take essential items, such as bank cards, on your trips. It is also common for many travelers to lose things as they move along. With the important stuff stored in an e-wallet, you always have access to these and don’t have to worry about losing them.
3. You can do contactless and cashless transactions
All you have to do is enter details for your travel spending on your mobile device. With just the touch of a button on your smartphone, you get to conveniently pay your financial transactions—no more digging into your purse for cards, bills, or loose change.
Plus, you do not need to make contact when handling bills, which may be contaminated with bacteria or viruses.
Anyone who travels would want to feel a sense of security. Especially if you are traveling to an unfamiliar environment, taking precautions is a crucial step to enjoying your trip.
1. You do not need to bring a large amount of cash
Taking wallets stuffed with cash is a risk—especially when you’re out and about in unfamiliar places. You only need to carry a little money for emergency purposes with an e-wallet that you can use to cover most of your expenses.
2. You can avoid being victimized by credit card theft
Credit card theft is prevalent worldwide. Using your cards on unsecured sites exposes you to hackers who can steal your financial information.
An e-wallet is safer to use because it uses data encryption—meaning your data and password are scrambled, making it very difficult to hack. Furthermore, e-wallets use two-factor authentication on top of the one-time use of PINs.
You can also go a step further in improving your e-wallet security by locking your phone through swipe codes, passwords, or biometric identification. This way, even if your mobile device is stolen while traveling, it will be difficult to access information on your device. That should give you enough time to contact your bank and request to lock your account.
3. Have peace of mind while traveling
Knowing that your financial information is stored securely in your digital wallet will allow you to enjoy your travel better. You can avoid the stress and anxiety of worrying about keeping your cards safe or using your cards on unsecured websites.
3. Ease of Access to Funds
Your digital wallet is an all-in-one app that allows you to access your funds when you need them wherever you are. There are e-wallets offering upgraded features designed to help travelers get a seamless experience.
- Allows for currency conversion – Multi-currency types of e-wallets can convert your money from one currency to another. Pick an e-wallet that does not charge transaction fees for certain currencies.
- Send money back home – When you are in a faraway place but need to attend to certain financial emergencies back home, e-wallets can facilitate the transaction instantly.
- Top up instantly – You will not want your vacation or holiday to be ruined by an unforeseen lack of funds or other emergencies. With an e-wallet, all you have to do is top up your e-wallet with your bank balance. This feature also lets you control your travel expenses and withdraw funds only when necessary.
- Pay bills at home even when you are away – With all the preparations you need for your travel, sometimes paying your bills could slip your mind. You do not want to come home later to find your utility provider has disconnected your services. Your e-wallet can be linked to bills payment, so you do not have to worry about bills when you are far from home.
4. Globally acceptable
Digital wallets are interoperation globally; as such, e-payment transactions are now possible in most parts of the world. If you are traveling for business, an e-wallet will be very handy in making payments for goods and services.
There are instances where cash or credit cards cannot be used as a payment method. You will not want to miss opportunities that you encounter during your business visit. Your digital wallet could be an essential tool that you can use to make critical business transactions.
5. Easy to use
Installing an e-wallet app on your mobile device is not a complicated task, even for the non-tech-savvy. All it takes is downloading the app, which is usually user-friendly.
On the contrary, you might find it more challenging to line up for foreign currency exchange, fill up forms for payments, and do all the other things you need to prepare for your trip. From booking your airline tickets and hotel rooms to your dinner reservations, your e-wallet can significantly simplify your tasks.
You can also check with the existing bank you use. Most banks have mobile apps that allow you to link your e-wallet to your bank account.
6. Saves time
With an e-wallet, preparing for your trip doesn’t have to be a tedious task. Because you can do these things with your mobile device, completing your to-do list requires less work. You can have more time to enjoy your trip, rather than stress out with all the necessary arrangements.
An E-wallet Can Be Your Travel Buddy
Digital wallets provide a seamless experience, which is especially handy while traveling. By storing your financial information in your e-wallet, you can ditch your physical wallet or only use it for emergency cash.
Using e-wallets makes your financial transactions convenient, secure, and easily accessible. You can also use your e-wallet to take advantage of business opportunities that would otherwise be impossible to do.
The next time you take a trip, make sure you choose to travel smart by using an e-wallet. Take advantage of this technological innovation that could make your life easier. With an e-wallet, your travel becomes more enjoyable, memorable, and stress-free.
Author – Mira is the Digital Marketing Head of RCBC Bankard, a Card Servicing entity of Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC). With her passion for turning creative ideas into effective campaigns, she leads the development of all digital marketing programs of RCBC Bankard. Outside work, she expresses her creativity through photography and writing.