Many of us are familiar with the concept of digital or electronic wallets. Paypal is a good example. Your credit card details and shipping address are saved on the platform, allowing you to make online payments by logging into your account. Nowadays, the technology has evolved greatly. Using your phone, you can carry your e-wallet with you and pay in-store through smartphone applications. Contactless payment technologies in this space from the likes of Apple and Google could revolutionise the way we pay for all of our purchases from grocery shopping to dining out.

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What is an e-wallet?

An e-wallet enables users to make financial transactions through providers rather than directly using their cash, credit or debit card. For example, providers allow customers to setup virtual accounts which can by topped up with money or. Your money than becomes virtual cash which can be used to purchase items at stores who have an agreement with your selected provider. These transactions can be carried out either through a computer or using a smartphone.

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Why would you use an e-wallet?

An e-wallet can save users time spent on entering their card or financial details when purchasing from online stores. Increasing consumer convenience can also work in the favor of merchants who have e-wallet payments as an option on their site. Users are more likely to give up on a purchase if entering their details is taking up too much time. E-wallets can also give users a sense of security as online stores will not have direct access to your finances or account details.

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Besides security, users can track their transactions and keep a record of their digital receipts. For the user, the scope to make online purchases worldwide also increases and they don’t need to carry around large amounts of cash with them to buy goods and services.

What options do I have?

There are several providers who allow you to make contactless purchases through their platform or app. Below are a few options you can check out.

Apple Pay: It is a digital wallet compatible with apple devices such as the iPhone , Apple watch or the iPad. It’s key feature includes the Touch ID which lets you make payments directly with a contactless reader by holding your device next to it and without the use of another app. For example, if your heading down to McDonald’s for a meal, you can now use your Apple Watch to make transactions. However this method of payment is not widely used in the UAE yet.

To set up, users will have to add their debit or credit card information on Passbook (a feature which comes with Apple devices).

Through Apple Pay your card details aren’t shared with online stores and in case you loose your phone, it can be deactivated through your iCloud account or through the Loss Mode feature present in iPhone devices.

Google Wallet:  It’s a digital wallet which lets you make online and in store payments using your android phone. To get started, you can store your card information on Google Wallet app and than use is to make purchases. The wallet can also be used to buy Google products or from Google Play. Users can also use it to send money to your friends and family and make purchases with just a tap. However, currently certain features of the Google Wallet such as sending money through your gmail is only available in the United States.

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RTA eWallet: It is an RTA service where users can setup an online account, top it up with money and use it to pay for RTA services. However, this service is only limited to companies and not individuals and can only be used to pay for Licensing Agency services.