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Digital wallets

Digital wallets let you store credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, Medicare cards and more in your phone or tablet.

Physical cash is on the way out, and so are your bank cards, thanks to digital wallets. Data from the Commonwealth Bank shows that the use of digital wallets and other contactless payments rose 90% between 2020 and 2021.

Digital wallets let you store your credit and debit card information securely. Then, instead of using physical cards to pay for something in a store, you can scan the wallet via your smartphone screen.

Digital wallets in Australia

You can download digital wallets from the App Store for Apple or the Play Store for Android.

  • Apple Pay. If you use an Apple smartphone or tablet, you'll likely use Apple Pay as your digital wallet. You can also use it securely in the Safari browser when shopping online. You can add shopping loyalty and rewards or health insurance cards too.
  • Samsung Pay. Samsung Pay is a digital wallet for Android users popular with people using Samsung phones. The wallet app works with major credit card providers and Australia's Big Four banks. You can also add in your loyalty cards and transit cards in NSW.
  • Google Pay. Another popular wallet for Android users, Google Pay lets you pay in-store and online. You can add various non-bank cards as well. Google Pay has various security features via your phone as well.
  • PayPal app. The PayPal app has several payment functions and also includes a wallet. You can add credit cards and shop online and take advantage of PayPal's buyer protection when shopping online.

There are other digital wallets for different purposes. Stocard for example is a digital wallet purely for loyalty cards.

Digital wallets for health care and concession cards

You can also use a digital wallet if you have a government health care or concession card. The wallet is part of the Express Plus Centrelink app.

You can add the following cards:

  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Health Care Card
  • Low Income Health Care Card
  • Pensioner Concession Card

Digital wallet technical terms

  • Near field communication (NFC). This is a set of features for smartphones and similar devices to establish a communication by bringing the 2 of them together. Applications include contactless transactions, data exchange or a form of complex communication.
  • Radio frequency identification (RFID). This technology uses radio frequency to transfer data and information.
  • Encryption. This encodes messages so only authorised people can understand it. An algorithm encrypts and hides the original message.

Finder survey: How many Australians carry cash?

Response75+ yrs65-74 yrs55-64 yrs45-54 yrs35-44 yrs25-34 yrs18-24 yrs
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1004 Australians, December 2023

How does a digital wallet work?

A digital wallet works like an electronic version of your current wallet. It allows you to make electronic payments with your digital device and hides the actual financial information. It authenticates your purchases through encryption and digital certificates to secure the payment processes from the consumer to the merchant.

Most payments use NFC, a technology that allows radio frequencies to communicate with each other. In the future, you can expect the following features to be available with your digital wallet:

  • Online shopping your from your device
  • Conducting comparison between items
  • Earning points with all of your rewards programs
  • Storing personal information
  • Person-to-person payments
  • Connect with appliances within the household

What about cryptocurrency wallets?

Cryptocurrency wallets are different from the digital wallets we've covered in this article. Cryptocurrency wallets are apps or software solutions that allow you to save and transfer your cryptocurrency. For a detailed explanation of what they are and how they work, check out our guide to cryptocurrency wallets.

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8 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    PeterFebruary 12, 2019

    How would I earn from this technology of e-wallets?

      JeniFebruary 14, 2019Finder

      Hi Peter,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      It would be a good idea if you research first on which e-wallet provider to partner with. Basically, e-wallet companies provide training and other resources to fully understand the business. They would also explain your potential earnings with them, which is on commission basis. I also suggest that you check out some pages/forums related to this topic or talk to some experts for further assistance and knowledge on e-wallets.

      I hope this helps.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    RobDecember 12, 2018

    Is there a preferred digital wallet for storing things such as Centrelink pension card, medicare, transport concession cards?

      MayDecember 18, 2018Finder

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for your question.

      I’m afraid there’s no such preferred digital wallet where you can keep your cards for Centrelink pension, Medicare and Transport Concession. You can only use a regular wallet for those though. The digital wallets are generally used for cryptocurrencies.


    Default Gravatar
    JanetMarch 24, 2018

    I am thinking of investing in a robot trader (cryptocurrencies). How do I find out which ones are legit? I have already found one of the sites supposedly exposing scams is a scam itself, linked to at least 2 that have been found to be scams by other reviewers.

      JoshuaMarch 27, 2018Finder

      Hi Janet,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder.

      You are right to be cautious when it comes to determining whether a website, product, or service is legit or not. Having sufficient knowledge before making a decision is one of the best ways to spot a scam.

      It is great that you read reviews. Another way to spot a scam is to be alert to different red flags. These may include asking you to send money in advance, unprofessional website, lack of certifications, and others.

      Most importantly, seek the advice of experts and reliable sources to ensure that you are making the right decision.

      You might also want to read our guide on how to spot and avoid a bitcoin scam.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


    Default Gravatar
    JohnDecember 3, 2014

    I have $7000 in credit on my credit card, which has a limit of $14,000. I would like to transfer this into an online e-wallet or some other account like a visa debit card. Is there anything on the market that you can suggest please? Thanks John

      ShirleyDecember 3, 2014Finder

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question.

      If you’d like, you can compare a range of debit cards here.

      If you decide to transfer your credit into this account, cash advance fees and interest may apply – so it’s best that you check with your credit card provider beforehand.

      You’ll find that most banks nowadays have mobile apps available where you can check your balance. You can then use your linked debit card to make purchases through PayWave or PayPass. CommBank also provides a PayTag that you can attach to your eligible handset to make purchases.

      All the best,

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