Personal & Financial Strategies

Understanding Mobile Wallet Technology

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Have your banking habits gone fully mobile? Geoff Roemerman, of Associated Bank’s Rockford Community Market, explains the need-to-knows of mobile wallet technology.

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IIf you’re like many Americans, you carry around a variety of credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, coupons and more. What if you could lighten the load? With an NFC-enabled smartphone, you can.

NFC, or near-field communication, is the technology behind certain mobile wallets. Although it’s recently made headlines with Apple’s unveiling of Apple Pay, NFC has been around for several years. Android users may have used NFC via Google Wallet or Softcard (formerly called Isis Wallet).

How Mobile Wallets Work

NFC technology enables two devices in close proximity to communicate information. Once you’ve chosen a mobile wallet that’s compatible with your device:

  1. Load your card information into the wallet, either by using your device’s camera or entering it manually.
  2. Look for the payWave symbol at the payment terminal anyplace you shop.
  3. Tap or hold your device at the terminal to use your default card. If you’ve loaded multiple cards, you can select a different card within the mobile wallet app. You may be asked to scan your finger or enter a PIN to complete the transaction.
  4. Make in-app purchases, eliminating the need to fill out long payment forms online.

Enhanced Security Features

Although security features will vary with each mobile wallet app, many can protect you from fraud by providing a one-time-use code to the merchant, rather than showing your name, full card number or security code with every purchase, If the wallet is protected by a PIN, it’s smart to choose a different code than the one used to unlock your device. If your phone is lost or stolen, you may be able to disable the wallet or its cards remotely, or lock your device completely.

Fraud Protection

Your bank’s credit and debit cards ought to come with fraud monitoring services and protection against unauthorized transactions. Your mobile banking app or online banking platform will allow you to set account alerts or view your transactions on the go.

Geoff Roemerman is Vice President, Market Manager for Associated Bank’s Rockford Community Market.

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