How to Choose a Mobile Wallet

How to Choose a Mobile Wallet

January 14, 2014         Written By Bill Hardekopf

Mobile wallets are changing the way people make purchases. Rather than carrying around a wallet full of cards and money, all someone needs is a cell phone to pay for the things he wants. With the number of mobile wallet providers available, it may be hard to choose the right one. It’s not like a standard wallet that you can assess cosmetically. You have to look at this in an entirely different light. The guide below explains how to choose a mobile wallet so you can get the best one for your needs.

Top 5 Best Mobile Wallets

Before you select a mobile wallet, you need to know your options. The following list highlights the five most popular digital wallet providers in random order:

Google Wallet – Available for Apple and Android

Lemon Wallet – Available for Apple, Android, and Windows

Square Wallet – Available for Apple and Android

ISIS Mobile Wallet – Available for Android

Apple Passbook – Available for Apple

Phone Compatibility

You need to make sure you select a mobile wallet that works for your type of phone. For instance, you would not want to look into the Apple Passbook if you have a Droid 4. If you had a Windows phone you wanted to use, the Lemon Wallet would be the choice for you if you just looked at the most popular wallets.

Card Compatibility

After you narrow your options by phone, you need to figure out which mobile wallet is going to work for your credit cards. Some mobile wallets will only work with MasterCard or Visa, so if you mainly use American Express or Discover, you will need to check to see if they work with your cards. It makes no sense to download a mobile wallet if you aren’t going to be able to use it.


For the most part, mobile wallets go through a series of checkpoints to ensure that their customers’ information remains safe. Credit card breaches can happen to even the best of systems though, so it is important that you check the security of any wallet you want to use. Read reviews of the wallets online to see if anyone has had trouble with security after using the service. If so, you might want to look in a different direction.


One more factor to keep in mind is whether stores in your area will work with your mobile wallet provider. Most mobile wallets have information on their sites that detail which merchants they work with. If you do not have any of those merchants in your area or you simply do not shop with them, having that mobile wallet might not make sense. All it does is make you more vulnerable to credit card theft, which is the last thing anybody wants.

Alternatives to Mobile Wallets

If you do not trust the security of mobile wallets, you could try using a payment processor like PayPal when you want to pay at a store. PayPal has made great strides in expanding its compatibility with stores lately, so you should be able to find merchants in your area that work with PayPal. Dollar General and Home Depot are just some of the countless stores that now work with PayPal.

If you would rather have a card to swipe instead of your phone, you could use Coin. It’s a new device that stores multiple accounts on a single card and lets you select which one you want to use. Coin has not been on the market long, so it doesn’t have a lot of customer data on security or ease of use.

Mobile wallets aren’t for everyone, but they could be right for you. Check out your options and see which application best suits your needs.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of January 14, 2014. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Bill Hardekopf

Bill Hardekopf is the CEO of and covers the credit card industry from all perspectives. Bill has been involved with personal finance for over 15 years. He is a frequent contributor to Forbes, The Street and The Christian Science Monitor.
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