The Rise of the Digital Wallet – the Benefits for Online Merchants

While re-reading Hilary Mantel’s excellent novel Wolf Hall a certain passage tickled me. The novel’s ‘hero’, Thomas Cromwell, is in conversation with Mary Boleyn, who comments that she has heard that visitors to his house cannot move for chests bursting with gold pieces. ‘We would never allow that,’ Cromwell quips. ‘We would get bigger chests.’

I can sort of relate to this. Well, my wallet can. It’s full to bursting (although unfortunately not with gold pieces). A recent ‘wallet audit’ for the purposes of this article revealed just how much stuff congregates within. From payment cards and loyalty cards to gift cards and receipts – not to mention appointment cards and the obligatory family photos – it’s no surprise that many of us feel that our wallets have reached saturation point. But unlike Cromwell’s solution of bigger chests, the answer in our ultra-technological age could lie in something smaller – the digital wallet.

Acting as a virtual replacement for the physical wallet, digital wallets store payment and loyalty card information and are designed to simplify the online checkout process. The concept has been hovering about on the periphery of the payments industry since the mid- to late-1990s, and is slowly but surely making its move into the mainstream.

Digital wallets have obvious benefits for customers. They eliminate the tedium of having to manually input payment and shipping information every time they want to buy something online, ensuring a fast and convenient checkout process. No more fishing around for the right combination of payment and loyalty card. Furthermore ‘fat-finger’ typos that can happen when entering data on small touchscreens is eliminated, while multiple layers of security ensure the safety of sensitive information.

There are enticing benefits for merchants too:

  • A faster checkout process means reduced cart abandonment, leading to a higher conversion rate and more revenue for your business.
  • A full range of devices are supported, meaning your customers can check out using a desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, opening up multiple revenue channels.
  • Mobile optimisation means your customers get a superior smartphone shopping experience, even if your site isn’t optimised.

If you choose to adopt payments via digital wallet, naturally you have to make sure you pick the option that best suits your business, your bottom line and your customers. There are many players jostling to get their digital wallet button on your check-out page. Here is a quick look at what three of the most well-known brands in payments – PayPal, MasterCard and Visa – have on offer.


digital wallet paypal

PayPal is the granddaddy of online transactions, with more than eight million businesses accepting payments through its platform. It is an established and trusted payment method for consumers around the globe. PayPal allows customers to keep all their financial information in a secure online platform, allowing them to use log-in details to make payments rather than having to input credit or debit card numbers. The login details are then linked to the user’s chosen credit or debit card and its bank account as well as address details for shipping.

MasterPass by Mastercard

digital wallet mastercard

MasterPass is a digital payment service that allows your customers to pay anywhere and anytime on a smartphone, tablet or computer via a single checkout button on your website. It is quick to integrate and so does not disrupt your existing business. MasterPass is an open platform, which means that in addition to MasterCard cards, consumers can use other branded credit, debit and prepaid cards. MasterPass is accepted at more than 40,000 merchants globally. To offer MasterPass as a checkout option, merchants must accept MasterCard-branded payment cards. by Visa

digital wallet v me visa is a secure digital wallet service provided by participating banks and supported by Visa. lets users check out at online stores using a one-click solution that remembers card details from multiple providers (including MasterCard and American Express cards) as well as billing details and postal addresses. It also offers users the advantage of being able to use their stored cards on all of their devices. Like PayPal, it allows customers to use log-in details to make payments instead of using debit or credit card numbers, but unlike PayPal, funds cannot be stored in a account ─ transactions are instantly transferred between accounts.

Thinking about accepting payments via digital wallet? Contact us now to speak to one of our payments experts who can help you find the right solution for your business.