Making the Switch to a Mobile Wallet

There you are, impressed with yourself for getting the rest of your holiday shopping done in just a couple of hours. You make your way to the checkout aisle and hand over your items.AdobeStock_112895088

While the salesperson is ringing everything up, you dig into your purse or pocket for your wallet…but wait, where is it? Now you’re frantically rummaging while customers wait impatiently behind you. It’s then that you realize you pulled it out at the drive-thru to pay for a coffee and left it behind in your car. So much for being done with your holiday shopping.

In the event of a missing wallet, wouldn’t it be great if you could whip out your smartphone, or flash your smartwatch and somehow use it to pay for your goods? Well guess what – you can! Meet the “mobile wallet”.

A mobile wallet is a virtual wallet that stores credit and debit card information on a mobile device. And, it encrypts that information so it can’t be easily accessed if your device falls into the wrong hands.

The most widely used mobile wallets right now are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. Some mobile devices come pre-loaded with a mobile wallet, and if your device doesn’t have one you can download a mobile wallet from your phone’s app store. First though, you’ll need to see whether your debit and credit cards are compatible with the mobile wallet. Bank5 Connect debit cards support Apple Pay, and a full list of Apple Pay-friendly banks can be found at If you’re looking to see which banks support Samsung Pay, visit A list of Google Pay participating banks can be found at

Retailers around the world are plugging into the mobile wallet culture. Millions of business now accept mobile wallet payments at their brick-and-mortar locations, and many of those retailers allow you to use your mobile wallet for online purchases as well.

Just don’t confuse the term “mobile wallet” with “digital wallet”. While they are both very similar, they do have some key differences. Think of a mobile wallet as a credit or debit card that lives on your mobile device. If you’re purchasing something in a store, you physically take out your phone and hold it near the terminal at the checkout counter. If you’re shopping online, you can activate your mobile wallet on participating websites and use it to make your purchase.

A digital wallet on the other hand, is typically only used for online shopping. Examples of digital wallets include PayPal and Visa Checkout. When you sign up for a digital wallet service, you link your account to a debit or credit card. Like a mobile wallet, your card information is encrypted for security purposes. A digital wallet can also house your shipping information, so you can make online purchases quickly and easily, without having to enter all of your personal details on the website.

If getting through the checkout aisle a little faster sounds good to you, consider a mobile wallet. Just don’t forget to keep your device charged. A dead battery at the checkout counter is no more helpful than leaving your wallet in the car!

Stay Vigilant While Shopping Online This Holiday Season

Holiday shopping sure isn’t what it used to be. People are turning away from the craziness of the mall, and are instead using their smart phones, laptops and tablets to buy their

If you’re ditching the usual shopping experience for the less-stressful digital one, you’ll be in good company. Millions of people are expected to head online this year for their gift-giving needs.

But while online shopping provides greater freedom and convenience, it can come with some risks. Cyber criminals are prowling the internet – especially during the holiday season – looking to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting shoppers. But the good news is that you can keep yourself and your wallet safe by staying on high alert. So, while working your way down your gift list this year, here are some online security tips to consider:

Stay away from sketchy sites. Whenever possible, do your shopping on popular, well-known websites. If you are tempted to buy from an unfamiliar site, be sure to do your research first. Google the name of the company to see if there are any scam alerts, or bad reviews out there. You would never give your credit card information to some creepy stranger on the street, would you? That’s really no different than giving it to some website you know nothing about.

Be wary of any deals that sound too good to be true. Say you’re surfing around and you find a price for an item that’s unbelievable. Chances are that it’s bogus. That’s one of the ways crooks lure in unsuspecting buyers to their sites. Once there, they have ways to con you out of sensitive banking and credit card information.

Be on the lookout for “imposter” sites. Even if you’re looking to buy from a website with a great reputation, or one that you’ve purchased from multiple times, you still need to have your guard up. Online scammers have been known to create fake, bogus sites that mirror the ones you know and trust. So, be sure to double-check the address bar of your favorite online store before entering your sensitive information. If you’re looking to buy on, but you notice that the URL reads “”, then you’re not really on, you’re on a site called “” that is posing as BestBuy.

Only shop on secure sites. Before typing in your credit card or personal information online, it’s extremely important to verify that your connection to the website is secure. If the connection is not secure, it means the data you enter will not be encrypted, and can be easily accessed by cyber crooks. You can tell whether you are on a secure, encrypted connection by checking the URL in your browser’s address bar. If the URL begins with “https”, and there is an icon of a lock to the left of the URL, it means the connection is secure.

Don’t shop using free Wi-Fi.  Free, public Wi-Fi connections typically don’t have the best safeguards in place to protect you, such as firewalls and encryption technology. The same goes for public computers – they’re usually just as unsafe. If you’re out and about using public Wi-Fi or a shared device, wait until you get home to do your online shopping.

Know your apps. Only use trustworthy apps when mobile shopping. More and more people are turning to their smartphones to shop, and if you’re one of them, use apps provided directly by a retailer. Just as there are many bogus websites out there, there are just as many phony apps waiting to take advantage of you.

Keep up with updates. Make sure your devices have the latest versions of security software installed. And be sure to use the most recent version of your operating system and web browser. This will help ensure that you are properly defended against any newly identified viruses or malware.

Monitor your accounts. You should check your banking and credit card accounts on a regular basis, at least once a week if possible. If you come across any suspicious activity or unauthorized purchases, report them immediately to your bank or credit card issuer.

Most importantly, don’t let your guard down while shopping online. Being on the lookout for anything suspicious will go a long way to keeping your sensitive information safe. Stay vigilant, and don’t let your holiday be ruined by cyber crooks!

Cashing In On Presidents Day Weekend Sales

What do the names Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Jackson, Cleveland, Madison, Grant, and McKinley have in common? Of course, they’re all the last names of presidents of the United States.AdobeStock_101281432.fw

And all of them, at one time or another, have also had their portraits appear on U.S. currency. Currently, Washington is on the $1 bill, Jefferson is on the $2 note, Lincoln is on the $5 bill, and Jackson appears on the $20 note.

So what does all of this have to do with Presidents Day Weekend sales? Why, without all those Jacksons, Lincolns, and Washingtons floating about, those sales would fall flat on their faces!

It’s safe to say that the commander-in-chiefs appeared on our currency long before Presidents Day sales became popular. But now they’re all but inseparable.

That doesn’t mean, however, that people aren’t willing to separate themselves from their currency if the right sales come along. And they’re will be a lot of them to choose from during the holiday weekend. From car dealership lots to clothing stores, the bargains will be waiting for buyers to snatch them up.

And getting the best buys is now easier than ever, thanks in large part to those things called apps. No, we’re not talking appetizers. We’re referring to those software applications that you can download onto your smart phones and tablets.

There are plenty of them to choose from these days. The big players like Amazon and eBay have them. But there are lots more floating about, including RetailMeNot, Coupon Sherpa, SlickDeals, Shopular, Ebates, BuyVia, Hafta Have, Gilt, Purchx, ShopSavvy, ScanLife, and Flipp.

Within those listed are mobile comparison shopping apps like BuyVia and Purchx, while others feature mobile coupons for various retailers, such as Ebates and Coupon Sherpa. The majority of shopping apps are compatible with both IOS and Android operating systems.

All of this modern technology makes it more convenient to shop, whether you decide to do so from the comfort of your home or in brick-and-mortar stores. You have the capability of comparing retailers or tracking down valuable coupons with just a few clicks.

But as the saying goes – buyer beware. Crooks are still out there waiting to take advantage of unsuspecting shoppers. Fortunately, people who shop in physical stores are being afforded more protection by the recently introduced chip-enabled credit and debit cards. These cards are designed to make it a lot harder to steal vital information from consumers.

As a result, thieves are turning to a lesser path of resistance – cyber space. Since chip cards can’t be used physically to make online purchases, this gives criminals greater opportunity to access your information. You can keep the bad guys at bay by buying from online retailers you know and trust.

On a lighter note and returning to the earlier theme of U.S. currency, trivia buffs might know that there are several denominations of currency notes that are no longer produced. They include the $500 bill featuring William McKinley’s portrait, the $1,000 note that pictured Grover Cleveland, the $5,000 bill with a portrait of James Madison, and the $100,000 note featuring Woodrow Wilson’s caricature.

And that brings us full circle to Presidents Day Weekend and lots and lots of sales. So get out there and spend your bucks on the best buys of the season!

It’s That Crazy Shopping Time of Year!

Want to see shoppers go into a frenzy? Watch them in action during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Both days are coming up fast, and that means lots of bargains will be up for grabs. Will you be ready to lock onto the best deals?

There are lots of ways to prepare yourself. Here are some that could give you a leg up on the competition:

Be social media savvy. Many retailers will announce or offer special deals via Facebook and/or Twitter, or you can connect with them through e-mail to receive sales alerts and discount coupons.

Use store credit cards for extra savings. Many retailers offer extra discounts or other perks when using their cards, so take advantage of it.

Research before you buy. Don’t get suckered in by a low price for an inferior product. “You get what you pay for” still holds true, so make sure that the item(s) you’re eyeing up are worthy of your hard-earned dollars.

Don’t be late for the party. If you wait too long to pick up on a bargain, you run the risk of not getting it. With more retailers starting their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving night if not sooner, you may have to readjust your buying strategy to grab the deals before others do.

And don’t ignore the fine print. It’s there for a reason, even though it may be tough to read. We’re talking about disclosures such as “limited quantities” or “limited to store stock.” Another is restricting buyers to one item only.

Be cautious of “too good to be true” deals. Chances are what you see isn’t going to be what you get.

Look for price matching. Many retailers do it these days, including brick-and-mortar stores that will match the price of online retailers.

Take advantage of online comparison shopping sites. They include PriceGrabber.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon!, ShopZilla.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon!, FatWallet.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon! and Shopping.comAs a courtesy, you will be leaving and going to another website. We have approved this site as a reliable partner, but you will no longer be under the security policy of Come back soon!. And don’t forget to check newspaper ads, too.

Be careful when shopping online:

      • Stick with trustworthy sites and sites where you’ve shopped before.
      • Don’t shop on a public WiFi network. You could potentially expose credit card and other personal financial information to cyber thieves, since these networks don’t have extensive, if any, security protocols.
      • Be aware that the new “chip” credit and debit cards have made it more difficult for crooks to steal your financial information in brick-and-mortar stores. On the flip side, thieves have shifted their attention to online shopping, since the chip cards don’t offer the same safeguards in the cyber sphere.

Best of luck with your holiday shopping, whether it’s on Black Friday or Cyber Monday or any other time during this holiday season.