What is a Digital Wallet?

A digital wallet allows you to pay for things with just a quick flash of your phone. But is it safe? Here’s everything you need to know.

3 min read

Given the recent coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a large focus on decreasing physical interactions in an effort to keep yourself and others safe. One way to do this is by setting up your digital wallet. 

A digital wallet lets you make payments in stores, online, or in apps with just one wave or tap of your phone. If you’re new to using a digital wallet, here’s what you need to know to get started.

What is a digital wallet? 

Digital wallets, sometimes called e-wallets, are software-based payment tools, usually in the form of an app that allow you to pay for things. The wallet securely stores virtual versions of debit and credit cards, so you won’t need to enter your card details or carry a physical card to make payments. You can also save digital tickets and e-vouchers here, too, so you always have the documents you need on hand.

How does a digital wallet work?

A digital wallet uses app software to link your payment details from your connected bank account to the vendor that the transaction is being made with.

Different apps allow different access. Open wallets (accepted at most retailers) enable online purchases, contactless in-store payments, and cashback, and may even allow withdrawals at select ATMs. Semi-closed and closed wallets allow certain transactions with a set group of retailers, or only with the retailer that issued the wallet.

Are digital wallets safe?

Yes — and in many ways they are actually safer than traditional payment methods. The data stored in your digital wallet is encrypted, which means your debit card account number is not transmitted when you pay for something. The fewer places that store your bank account information, the lower your chances are of being on the receiving end of fraud. 

Additionally, payments made with your digital wallet are covered with the same security protections as your physical cards. N26 debit cards are protected by Visa’s Zero Liability Policy¹, which means you won't be held responsible for unauthorized charges made with your account information. And your N26 account is FDIC-insured up to $250,000 through our partner bank, Axos Bank®, Member FDIC, so you never have to worry about whether your money is safe. 

How do I set up my digital wallet?

Getting a digital wallet is straightforward and usually just takes a few minutes. Just download your chosen digital wallet app, enter the details from your eligible debit or credit card, and start spending straight away.

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What are the benefits of using a digital wallet?

Digital wallets are easy to use. No more filling in your card details every time you check out, or fumbling for your wallet at the store. Your payment information is saved in one protected, central location. The card number is never stored in the app itself, but is instead assigned a unique virtual number. This protects your money even if your smartphone is lost or stolen. Still, always research the digital wallet issuer before testing it out, just to make sure it’s legitimate.


Go 100% mobile with N26

If you’re ready for a 100% mobile bank account you can open and manage directly from your phone, meet N26. Whether you’re looking for fast and secure cashless payments with Apple Pay®, or Google Pay or simply want to kiss hidden bank fees goodbye forever, sign up for an N26 account in just 5 minutes to experience banking designed to fit your lifestyle.

¹ Visa’s Zero Liability Policy covers U.S.-issued cards only and does not apply to certain commercial card transactions or transactions not processed by Visa. You must notify your card issuer immediately of any unauthorized use. For specific restrictions, limitations and other details, please consult your issuer.

Apple and Apple Pay are trademarks of Apple Inc. For a list of compatible Apple Pay devices, see support.apple.com/km207105.

Google Pay and Google Play are trademarks of Google LLC.

The N26 account is offered by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC. N26 Inc. is a service provider of Axos Bank. All deposit accounts of the same ownership and/or vesting held at Axos Bank are combined and insured under the same FDIC Certificate 35546. All deposit accounts through Axos Bank brands are not separately insured by the FDIC from other deposit accounts held with the same ownership and/or vesting at Axos Bank. The N26 Visa® Debit Card is issued by Axos Bank pursuant to a license by Visa U.S.A. Inc. The N26 Visa Debit Card may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

N26 does not manage external links, and is not responsible for the content, links, products or services of these websites. Further, N26's privacy and security policies do not apply to external linked websites. Please consult the disclosures of any external linked websites for further information.

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