What are E-wallets?

An e-wallet is a type of prepaid account in which a user can store their money for any future online transaction. It can be described as a type of electronic card which is used for transactions made online through a computer or a smartphone. Its function is similar to that of a credit or debit card. With the help of an e-wallet, one can make payments for groceries, online purchases, and flight tickets, among others. However, an e-wallet needs to be linked with the individual’s bank account to make payments.

 With the adoption of digital payment methods such as internet banking, mobile banking and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), mobile payment in Nigeria has been growing steadily over the years. The advent of digital wallets has further helped to bring Nigeria closer to becoming a cashless society and deepen financial inclusion in the country. Recently, we have seen the emergence of different digital wallets that have been created to bridge the financial exclusion gap, while making financial transactions easier. Examples of these e-wallets include Paga, Chipper Cash, Abeg, among others.

 When it comes to financial transactions, the use of e-wallets is the way forward. With e-wallets, it is a lot easier to pay for products or receive payments online: there is no need to input too many codes, or type out the digits from an ATM card, to finalise a transaction. Also, e-wallets are inherently more secure than physical wallets containing cash and debit cards that could get stolen or misplaced, thereby causing great distress to the owner. Furthermore, it is a lot easier to conduct foreign transactions with e-wallets: conversion of currency is easier, and unnecessary delay is avoided.

 However, the operation of e-wallets is not without its drawbacks. Misplacing your password, or inputting the wrong password, could get you shut out of the application for an indefinite period, making it difficult to access the funds in your e-wallet. Also, if your password gets into the wrong hands, you could get hacked, and whoever cracks the code could move all your money away, and even use your e-wallet to commit fraud.

Flowing from this, people really need to be careful about how they share sensitive information about their e-wallets, or anything about their finances at all. There are people who have lost all their life savings because they unsuspectingly gave out their ATM pins or the passwords to their banking apps to scammers.To this end, it is important that people who frequently conduct transactions online keep their e-wallets secure at all times. 

How To Protect Your E-wallet And Financial Data

To ensure maximum protection of your financial data at all times, take the following steps:

– Enable your phone’s screen lock feature. Setting a passcode on your phone and other gadgets will provide an additional layer of protection, and more importantly, it will make it difficult for thieves to access your e-wallet if your phone ever gets stolen.

– Don’t reuse passwords. Avoid using the same username and password for all your online accounts. If a hacker successfully cracks your password, that would mean that all your accounts have been compromised. Use passwords that you can remember, but avoid using the same across the board.

– Install mobile security apps. There are certain apps that protect your smartphones and other devices against spyware, and also warn you about websites that can expose your private data. These mobile security apps also keep track of apps on your phone that can access your location and other important data.

– Monitor activity on your e-wallet. It may be difficult to keep up because of your busy schedule, but try to keep tabs on the transactions on your e-wallet. If there are transactions you don’t recognize, or you suspect unusual activity, quickly report to the platform that runs the e-wallet. 

– Be careful about doing transactions in public places. It may look like an overkill, but you can’t be too careful when operating your e-wallet in public: there could be a scammer lurking around. Make sure no one is watching you or leaning too close when making your payments for goods and services. That way, nobody can study your finger movements in a bid to get your security codes.

 These security measures should also extend to your use of social media. Social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram play host to a huge number of online entrepreneurs, so there’s a chance that you may want to pay for a product after interacting briefly with a vendor, but be careful not to give information away. Change your privacy settings so that only friends or followers can see what you post. Also, don’t post personal details like your mother’s name or your date of birth online: those details could be answers to security questions for your accounts, and any internet scammer who has access to those details will have a field day.

 Even with all their challenges, e-wallets serve a very important purpose in today’s transactions. They are convenient, they are necessary, and as long as all the right security measures are in place, they are hassle-free: you should have a feel of how easy it is to do transactions on Paga. The ease and flexibility provided by e-wallets cannot be traded for anything.

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