The Benefits and Shortcomings of Using Windows Phone's Wallet App

The Wallet app from Windows Phone is a convenient way to store financial data and use it to make purchases. This all sounds fine and dandy but why should you use this app to store your data? What are the benefits for doing so? And what are the possible problems you might expose yourself to? In this article we will get a bit philosophical and share our arguments for each side of the coin. Enough "how-to" articles, don't you think? :)

What are the Benefits of Using the Windows Phone Wallet App?

The Wallet is your Windows Phone's payment system for the things that you want to purchase on your smartphone. It's the go to app when you want to purchase something from Microsoft, be it apps, games, music or video.

In our view, the benefits of using this app are the following:

  • The Wallet can store and use lots of financial information: your cards, PayPal account, coupons, event tickets, etc. You can learn more about how to add them to this app, from this guide: How to Add Credit or Debit Cards to Your Windows Phone's Wallet. This app offers one place for storing, managing and using all your financial information in Windows Phone.

  • Purchasing apps or games from the Windows Phone Store is very fast and easy with the Wallet app. For example, you won't have to enter your credit card details every time you buy something from the Store. You can see here how fast you can make such purchases: How to Purchase Windows Phone Apps & Games Using the Wallet.

  • If your Windows Phone smartphone supports NFC (Near field communication), this app can replace your physical debit or credit card and you can use your Windows Phone to purchase all kinds of things in shops where payments can be done via NFC.

What are the Shortcomings of the Windows Phone Wallet App?

Just anything else in life, using the Wallet app also has some shortcomings:

  • If someone gets access to your Windows Phone and you haven't secured your Wallet app, that person can easily access the financial information stored by this app.
  • Since it is very convenient to use it to make purchases, it also increases the likelihood that you will make impulse buys and purchase more stuff, even if you don't need it. For example, you might be bored one day and quickly purchase a game in the Store and regret your decision the next day.
  • Even if you can use the Wallet app to make payments via NFC, in all kinds of shops, not that many shops have NFC enabled payment systems. But, we do expect such payment systems to gain more ground in the future and you will be able to use your Windows Phone to make more purchases than today. Who knows, maybe one day we will stop carrying so many credit cards with us and use our smartphones instead.

How Safe Is Your Wallet Data?

The data stored by the Wallet app is a safe as your Windows Phone data is in general. Yes, the operating system uses technologies like encryption and SafeBoot to protect itself but it's not bullet proof either. Therefore, if your smartphone gets stolen, there are some chances for a smart hacker to gain access to your data.

However, in most cases you will have to keep your financial data away from your friends, family or co-workers. And that's an easy thing to do, as long as you create a separate PIN for the Wallet app. This is how to do it: How to Secure the Data Stored by Your Windows Phone's Wallet App.

If you set a PIN that's different from your SIM card's PIN and your Windows Phone password, there are few chances to for someone break also the Wallet PIN. This way you won't have to worry when your kids or friends take your smartphone to play and they buy some expensive games from the Store, by "mistake". :)

Another good practice is not to store all your financial data inside the app. Keep things to a minimum. For example, add only your debit card or the PayPal account that you use for online transactions and nothing else, limiting the negative impact of other people getting access to your financial data.

Conclusion

We are done sharing our arguments and we are done covering the Wallet app. Now it is your turn: give this app a try and let us know what you think. Are there any benefits or problems we might have missed?