Wearable technology has been with us for quite some time, and it is becoming even more popular and ever-present in our daily lives. Gone are the days when mobile phones served solely the purpose of making and receiving calls and when watches were only used to tell the time. With the onset of smartphones and smartwatches, the way we interact with these devices is changing, with everything we need in our pockets or on our wrists.

One thing that has its days numbered is the physical wallet. In truth, nothing that can be found in our wallet can’t go virtual. Let’s imagine bringing out the wallet from our pocket and thinking about emptying it – cash in the form of coins and notes, bank cards, membership cards, loyalty cards, business cards, ID cards – most of these can become virtual documents – can we really do without the physical ones?

Well, let’s say that digital ID cards and driving licenses might be something of the not-so-distant future, but surely cash, debit and credit cards are already virtually available, and digital applications for business cards, membership cards and loyalty cards are becoming increasingly popular too.

Digital wallets have been around for quite some time. In 2019, Bank of Valletta became the first local bank to start rolling out its digital version of Visa debit and credit cards which could then be enrolled into a digital wallet. Five years down the line, Bank of Valletta is still offering its customers who are Apple and Garmin users the possibility of using Apple Pay and Garmin Pay respectively. BOV Pay was developed for Android users, which by the end of 2022, was replaced by Google Wallet soon after Google introduced the service in Malta.

So far, the tokenisation of BOV Visa cards to a digital wallet has proven to be a success story for Bank of Valletta, with several thousand cards being enrolled monthly. The pandemic helped substantially the drive for digital payments, as digital wallets eliminate the handling of cash which can be cumbersome and unhygienic, so much so, that since introducing digital wallet services, BOV has seen over 75,000 customers making the switch to digital payments. Encouraging numbers are also being experienced in the number of transactions affected through a digital wallet, a true testament that customers who eventually downloaded the apps are using them more frequently.

The result of this behaviour is beneficial on various fronts. First and foremost, payments are authenticated by security measures already enabled on devices, such as biometrics, face recognition, PINs and passwords. Payments are affected swiftly and seamlessly, we can do without the need to carry a physical wallet, and one important aspect we tend to overlook is the positive impact on the environment. As more of the population migrates to digital wallets, plastic card production will reduce drastically and one day the production of banknotes and coins will become a thing of the past. It is time to ditch the physical wallet. Are you in?

Issued by Bank of Valletta p.l.c., 58, Triq San Zakkarija, Il-Belt Valletta VLT 1130.  Bank of Valletta p.l.c. is a public limited company regulated by the MFSA and is licensed to carry out the business of banking in terms of the Banking Act (Cap. 371 of the Laws of Malta).

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