There are wallets—and then there are mobile phone wallets. Decorah Bank and Trust e-banking specialist Ben Wells thinks the mobile phone wallets might be the wave of the future.
Decorah Bank now has software that allows iPhone users to store their debit card in their iPhone and use it to pay for items with their phone. Wells says the mobile wallet program uses "near field communication" to allow the cell phone to communicate with an ATM terminal "in the most secure way."
That's because even if a retailers' system is broken into by hackers, the credit card information stored in mobile wallets is encrypted and remains safe. Wells says it's somewhat like the new computer chips that have been assimilated into credit and debit cards.
The transaction requires the mobile wallet owner to put their fingerprint on the phone before the transaction is completed, which makes the payment even more secure. It also means if a phone falls into the wrong hands, your credit card information remains secure.
But Wells sees other advantages to the mobile wallets. The transactions are faster than swiping a credit card or debit card. They're also very easy to use and don't require digging through your pockets to find your regular wallet and digging through your wallet to find your credit or debit card.
But the main selling point is the added security. Wells says Decorah gets hit by scammers just as much as anywhere else: "The bad guys don't care where you live."
While the mobile wallet app at this point involves just Apple products, Decorah Bank plans to add apps for Samsung and Android phones later this spring.