Industry guide

Digital and Mobile Wallets

Securely stores virtual versions of debit cards, credit cards and more for easier payments

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What are digital wallets?

Digital wallets are software programs that store users’ payment information enabling them to make purchases and track their payment history on any device with a web browser. Mobile wallets are a version of the digital wallet. They exclusively store the users’ payment information on their mobile and smart devices.

Most digital wallets belong to one of two categories:

The first category is like a traditional card wallet. It holds the digital versions of a customer’s debit and credit cards.

The second category is stored-value account wallets — also known as “closed wallets.” These “closed wallets” are like prepaid cards. Customers can preload these separate accounts with funds to make payments or purchases.

How do digital wallets work?

Digital wallets store a digitized version of a user’s debit or credit card credentials. Some digital wallets will store a user’s banking information. This enables the consumer to make contactless payments using their mobile or smart device.

At a more granular level, different digital wallets use different technologies to function. For example, some use near-field communication to exchange information between devices, others send a secure magnetic transmission signal to payment terminals or QR codes to complete the purchase.

What else can digital wallets do?

Though they were initially designed to store payment details and/or banking information, the applications for digital wallets have expanded in recent years. Today, many digital wallets can store a wide variety of information, including:

  • Gift cards
  • Membership cards
  • Loyalty cards
  • Event Tickets
  • Coupons
  • Boarding passes
  • Hotel reservations
  • ID cards
  • Billing statements

As digital wallet technology becomes more advanced over time, many providers have incorporated additional features including tracking expenses, splitting payments, earning membership/loyalty program rewards or requesting a reimbursement.

What are mobile wallets?

A mobile wallet is a specific type of digital wallet in which all payment credentials, authentication information and funds are stored on a mobile phone.

What types of transactions do digital wallets support?

Digital wallets support a wide variety of transaction types, including:

  • Wallet-to-bank transfers
  • Third-party transfers
  • Special offers and promotions
  • Top-ups
  • Cash in / cash out
  • Contactless payments
  • Payment requests
  • Bill splits
  • Bill payments
  • P2P transfers
  • Balance and transaction inquiries
  • Digital wallet users are expected to exceed 5.2 billion globally by 2026, according to a study from Juniper Research
  • Global Market Insights reports that the mobile wallet market will reach a record valuation of 970 billion USD by 2023
  • Statista estimates digital and mobile wallets accounted for roughly half of all global eCommerce payment transactions in 2021
  • 58% of global mobile wallet users report using their mobile wallet to make a payment at least once a week, according to the ACI Speedpay Pulse survey
  • ACI Speedpay Pulse also shows that 39.2% of consumers report using their mobile wallet to store non-payment items (digital tickets, identification, loyalty cards and billing statements)

5.2 billion

digital wallet users expected by 2026


global mobile users make a payment at least once a week


consumers report using their mobile wallet to store non-payment items

Are digital wallets safe?

Yes. Most digital wallets incorporate multiple layers of advanced security to ensure the safety of users’ sensitive payment credentials, including but not limited to two-factor and multi-factor authentication, personal identification numbers, tokenization and biometric authentication.

What are the benefits of offering digital wallet payments?

Support the payment methods your customers want

Giving them the freedom and flexibility to make payments directly from their mobile devices, increasing satisfaction and loyalty in the process

Offer frictionless payment experiences

Empowering your customers to make in-store and online payments for a seamless, omnichannel eCommerce experience

Streamline the checkout process

Reducing cart abandonment rates by eliminating unnecessary payment steps makes it easier for customers to complete purchases  

Reduce the risk of fraud

Mitigate fraudulent behavior and chargebacks using advanced security solutions like tokenization and biometric authentication

Eliminate the hassle of updating customer cards

Digital wallets securely store customers’ payment details for easy renewal, even if their card is lost, stolen or expires

How do digital wallets differ from digital currency wallets?

A digital currency wallet, referred to as a cryptocurrency wallet or a crypto wallet, is a digital wallet designed specifically to hold public and private cryptographic keys. Public keys enable others to make payments to a user’s wallet, while private keys enable users to make payments using their digital currency.

What are some of the leading digital wallets in the market today?

Some of the most popular digital wallets by region include:


Orange Money
Tigo Pesa


Samsung Pay
WeChat Pay

Asia Pacific

Kakao Pay


Apple Pay
Lyf Pay

North America

Apple Pay
Cash App
Google Pay
Samsung Pay

South America

Mercado Pago

How can merchants benefit from ACI’s digital wallet solution?

ACI Wallets delivers a superior digital wallet experience for merchants and payment service providers. With a single integration, merchants can access over 200 wallets in over 70 countries, offering extensive global coverage across all channels, including eCommerce, mobile applications and in-store purchases.