What Is an Electronic Wallet?

H. Terry
H. Terry
An e-wallet can automatically fill out information and offer payment for online purchases.
An e-wallet can automatically fill out information and offer payment for online purchases.

An electronic wallet, also called an e-wallet or a digital wallet, allows people to more conveniently conduct transactions online. Much like a traditional wallet, an e-wallet contains information about its owner. For the consumer, the main advantages of using an electronic wallet is that it can automatically fill out lengthy forms when making online transactions and can also keep personal details more secure.

Electronic wallets can now also be used via certain mobile devices.
Electronic wallets can now also be used via certain mobile devices.

User information, such as one's name, address and credit card numbers, are contained in an electronic wallet. When the user wants to make a purchase, he or she clicks on the electronic wallet and online forms on participating sites are filled in automatically. These time-consuming forms had previously deterred some shoppers from buying online. E-commerce has always been attractive to consumers primarily because it can be more convenient than visiting a brick-and-mortar shop. E-wallets make the process even easier and, arguably, much safer as well.

A common concern held by those who remain wary of shopping online is whether or not their personal and credit card information will be kept safe. E-wallets are heavily encrypted to protect such information from hackers. They are much more secure to use than sending emails or manually filling out web forms that may or may not be sufficiently protected from piracy by the merchant. This added defense against fraud can be appealing to both the consumer and the merchant. The consumer can shop with greater confidence on sites that accept his e-wallet and the merchant can attract business by providing this added assurance.

The merchant can also avoid accusations regarding misuse or loss of customer information. This is because the e-wallet provider acts as an intermediary, assuming responsibility for safe-guarding the e-wallet's content. In order to support an e-wallet and to use its software, merchants usually either have to pay a fee or a commission to the e-wallet provider.

Electronic wallets can be kept on users' PCs, but they are now more commonly stored on large central servers belonging to e-wallet providers. Electronic wallets can now also be used via certain mobile devices. Also along this line, companies are introducing mobile phones that can play the role of credit cards — a tap of the phone against a reader instead of the traditional swipe of a card can pay for an item. As cash continues to be eroded by new forms of payment, it is likely that the electronic wallet will continue evolving and being integrated into new technologies.

Discussion Comments


I would be somewhat wary of any online type of transaction. You never know what kind of criminal hackers and identify thieves are lurking behind a computer anywhere.

If I were to do any kind of shopping online, I would invest in this electronic wallet, as it seems like the most secure way to shop online.

At least you know once you pay for an electronic wallet the provider of that wallet is responsible if anything malfunctions and/or anyone tries to steal your money and other information.

I would be able to sleep a little easier knowing there is a company that can and will back me up in case there is anything suspicious going on in my electronic wallet account.

I am pretty sure most businesses in charge of these electronic wallet's would be more than happy to help their customers out, especially from something that can not be prevented and is not a customer's fault at all, like getting their account hacked into and their money and other goods being stolen.


I wonder how many people have invested or are going to invest in an electronic wallet just so they can shop online before Christmas and avoid all the mayhem of going to different stores around town.

If I had the means to do so, I would probably be a fan of shopping online, as it is much more convenient and sometimes seems to save you more money than going out to a store.

It makes sense for someone that shops online a lot, even if it is just for Christmas presents, to invest in an electronic wallet. If you are already being brave enough to put your information online, you might as well pay a little extra for a more secured and convenient product; the electronic wallet.

If I shopped online a lot, I would get me an electronic wallet, as it seems to save a lot of time to have all your accounts and information in one fairly organized place, like a regular wallet.


I have seriously been considering getting an electronic wallet. Almost everything I do is online, and I keep thinking how something like this would save me so much time.

I see something like this as being even more secure than using the individual websites. Most of my shopping has been done over the internet for many years, and I have never been ripped off yet.

When I think about the amount of time and gas I save by not driving to the mall, online shopping makes a lot of sense to me. This savings is even better when I take advantage of sites that offer free shipping.

Many sites will give you the option to automatically save your information so you don't have to fill out a new form every time.

An electronic wallet would still streamline this whole process, and you wouldn't have to worry about memorizing different passwords.

The more I read about them, the closer I get to giving one a try.


Using something like an electronic wallet really makes me uneasy. Maybe I am just old school, but I don't like to think about keeping my personal information stored like that.

I don't do much online shopping anyway because I always wondered if my credit card information would be safe. I know people do it all the time, but I have also heard of many stories that didn't work out so well either.

This is coming from someone who still likes to write a check whenever possible, and even carries a little cash with them.

I can see that our society is quickly moving towards one that rarely uses cash, and this is something I just haven't been able to let go of yet.

I won't go in to debt to buy something and have always lived my life this way. When I see so many families around me who are struggling in debt, and continue using their credit cards to buy things, I will continue doing what has worked for me for many years.


I'm not sure what to think about the "electronic wallet." I know it will make buying a lot easier, but I think there are some risks associated with it too.

First of all, I don't think we need to make shopping this easy considering that many Americans live in debt and don't save any money. I also think that electronic wallets might threaten our privacy and allow government agencies to exercise greater control over our transactions.

I also don't think that it wold be very reliable. If the software malfunctioned or the system messed up, you could lose access to your funds when you really need it.


@burcinc-- Actually, it's very affordable. I purchased an e-wallet software for both my computer and mobile last month. I just made a one-time payment for both and downloaded the software.

I really like it because it combines all of my banking information into one software that I can use everywhere. Before, it was pretty confusing and difficult for me to remember all of my passwords.

I also wanted to do purchases through my mobile because I travel a lot for work and rarely get to do shopping in person. I couldn't get myself to do it before because I was scared about what would happen if someone got a hold of my mobile and copied my passwords. I can do shopping through my mobile now, I just feel a lot safer this way. I can pretty much say that my electronic wallet has replaced my leather wallet.


This sounds great. I've been a victim of fraud because of online shopping. The sad part is that the online shops I purchased from are all well-known and "secure" sites. Apparently, it was not as secure as it appeared because my credit card information was stolen and used repeatedly until my bank finally canceled the card.

I also think that my email information has been given or stolen through these sites because I receive so much spam in my email. No matter how safe an online store claims to be or how popular it is, nothing online is 100% safe.

But I'm glad to know about electronic wallets because it sounds like it would be much more difficult for hackers to get into their systems.

Has anyone used this system yet?

How does an e-wallet software work and are the fees affordable? I would love to hear more about it.

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