What is an app wallet

The wallet is getting thicker and thicker: The fault is not the many coins and banknotes, but various customer cards and tickets. You can save a lot of them with the right apps.

Train tickets, customer cards and lots of change: When your wallet is bursting at the seams, it can be annoying. The solution: a digital wallet. This not only saves space, but also paper and plastic. But which apps are needed, how do they work and what do consumers have to consider?

If you want to clean out and digitize your wallet, you don't need a lot: a smartphone and the right apps. But is there a solution for everything? "My own experience is that for certain applications such as Payback, Miles & More, Starbucks, ADAC, Ikea, Sixt or similar, it can make sense to use the original app of the respective provider - because it simply offers more functions", says Hannes Rügheimer, author of the trade journal “connect”. But that also depends on personal needs. Android users in particular often need more than just an app.

The digital wallet initially includes contactless payment in supermarkets and the like. This can save time and nerves: According to Stiftung Warentest, the payment process with cash takes up to 83 seconds - with a smartphone or smartwatch it only takes 3 to 11 seconds. The payment process is triggered electronically, for example via an NFC (near field communication) radio chip. You will then be billed via an app in which you have stored your credit card. iPhone users have the Wallet app available for this purpose. For Android users, for example, there is Google Pay.

While it is convenient, consumers should take a few safety precautions when making mobile payments. According to the Lower Saxony consumer center, this includes:

  • use a widespread payment service system that can also be used abroad,
  • to check invoices on a regular basis,
  • set up good access protection in devices and apps (e.g. PIN, fingerprint or face recognition),
  • Keep smartphone software and apps up to date.

No more messy notes in your wallet: the digital wallet can not only replace cash, but also printed train tickets and concert or cinema tickets. Instead of rummaging around wildly in his pocket for tickets at the entrance, he simply pulls out his smartphone.Important: To do this, consumers need a ticket whose file ends with “pkpass”. The ticket provider has to provide this. This format can be saved from the e-mail or booking app - for example in a central location such as the wallet app or for Android users in WalletPasses.

Whether for the furniture store or the favorite coffee shop around the corner: customer and discount cards can take up a lot of space in your wallet. If you want to muck it out, you can use the free Stocard app (for iOS and Android). The principle: It creates digital copies of the maps and saves them in the app. So all maps are clearly in one place. To do this, consumers often only have to scan the barcode on their customer card. The advantage according to the trade journal “connect”: In contrast to Wallet, the app also shows credit and points.
But: In order for Stocard to access the respective online portals, consumers often have to enter their login information, explains Rügheimer. He recommends: In the settings of Stocard it can be activated that an additional identity check should be carried out before access to the app, for example by fingerprint or face recognition. “Even if you have actually already logged on to your smartphone via such channels.” Rügheimer, who has tested customer card apps himself, also refers to alternatives to Stocard for Android: such as WalletPasses or Pass2U.

Even if these apps make the wallet lighter, they have a downside: in terms of data protection. Georg Tryba from the North Rhine-Westphalia consumer center warns of the transparent customer: “Customers often provide a lot of data for a few discounts. You have to ask yourself: Is it worth it? ”He urges data economy to be used and advises that it is better to compare prices and not to tie yourself to a few providers just because they offer customer cards. The Lower Saxony consumer center also points out the traces of data in contactless payments. Tip from consumer advocates: take a close look at the consent for data use and disclosure of the apps. On the one hand, the Rügheimer expert sees the practical advantage of losing weight: "A wallet that fits in a jacket or trouser pocket or in a small handbag without being bulky". On the other hand, he refers to a further aspect: "Even with conventional cards you reveal data and leave digital traces." Those who want to avoid this consistently have to rely on cash in supermarkets and the like and do without online purchases entirely.