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An online wallet is a program or web service that allows users to store and control their online shopping information, like logins, passwords, shipping address and credit card details, in one central place. It also provides a convenient and technologically quick method for consumers to purchase products from any person or store across the globe.
Generally, the payment process is:
- User registers, inputs their phone number, and the provider sends them an SMS with a PIN
- User enters the received PIN, authenticating the number
- User inputs their credit card info or another payment method if necessary (not necessary if the account has already been added) and validates payment
- The user re enters their PIN to authenticate and validates payment
Requesting a PIN is known to lower the success rate (conversion) for payments. These systems can be integrated with directly or can be combined with operator and credit card payments through a unified mobile web payment platform.
English entrepreneur Michael Aldrich invented online shopping in 1979. His system connected a modified domestic TV to a real-time transaction processing computer via a domestic telephone line. He believed that videotex, the modified domestic TV technology with a simple menu-driven human–computer interface, was a 'new, universally applicable, participative communication medium — the first since the invention of the telephone.' This enabled 'closed' corporate information systems to be opened to 'outside' correspondents not just for transaction processing but also for e-messaging and information retrieval and dissemination, later known as e-business. His definition of the new mass communications medium as 'participative' [interactive, many-to-many] was fundamentally different from the traditional definitions of mass communication and mass media and a precursor to the social networking on the Internet 25 years later.
In March 1980 he went on to launch Redifon's Office Revolution, which allowed consumers, customers, agents, distributors, suppliers and service companies to be connected on-line to the corporate systems and allow business transactions to be completed electronically in real-time.
During the 1980s he designed, manufactured, sold, installed, maintained and supported many online shopping systems, using videotex technology. These systems which also provided voice response and handprint processing pre-date the Internet and the World Wide Web, the IBM PC, and Microsoft MS-DOS, and were installed mainly in the UK by large corporations.
The first World Wide Web server and browser, created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1990, opened for commercial use in 1991. Thereafter, subsequent technological innovations emerged in 1994: online banking, the opening of an online pizza shop by Pizza Hut, Netscape's SSL v2 encryption standard for secure data transfer, and Intershop's first online shopping system. Immediately after, Amazon.com launched its online shopping site in 1995 and eBay was also introduced in 1995.
Acceptance as a Form of Payment
Due to slow adoption and high competition, there is currently no one standard online wallet that is universally accepted. The acceptance of the online wallet as a form of payment varies based on both individual store policy and the type of online wallet being used. For example, Google Wallet can be used at MasterCard Paypass locations within the United States. Conversely, Bitcoin, while accepted internationally, is much less frequently accepted, due in part to its connection to illegal websites like Silk Road (marketplace). It is predicted that in the near future, as the use of online wallets increases, consumer attraction to specific technologies will reduce the number of specific online wallets.
Tips and Concerns
Protect yourself from fraudulent web sites. Many sites will use similar names or web addresses in an attempt to gain private information. Also, be sure to protect your privacy. Usually sites that include the green lock on the left side of the search bar are secured sites. Before making any transactions online, make sure that you are able to locate somewhere on the website a sort of reassuring security attribute. Many sites and online stores will track your browsing habits to promote deals and products to you. Check with your online bank to see if they follow your browsing history. Your web browser also may have settings to block outside groups from seeing this. Finally, try to keep your transactions secure. Before making any transactions online, make sure that you are able to locate somewhere on the website a sort of reassuring security attribute. Paypal for example is a great program to make secure transactions online and not only enable you to make secure transactions but to monitor your transactions; receiving emails after every transaction for your convenience.
- Typically every website that allows you to make purchases, have an online shopping cart to place your desired items. Locate the "Shopping Cart" and click the "Check Out" (usually located at the top right of the webpage) to complete the buying and check out process.
- At this point - if not already completed - most websites require a "Customer Login". If you are not already a member/subscriber of the website it is recommended to click the "Login/ Register" button to register as a user of the site.
- Your security and privacy is very important. It is advisable to check whether you are on a secured server before entering any information. Most websites will use a Secured Server in order to protect your information.
- Check Security for more general information about security and privacy.
- After entering selected items into the cart, now comes address information. Once prompted, type in your shipping address and billing address. All your orders will be shipped right to your door or whoever you wish to send it to.
- Some places ship worldwide and in most cases websites ship even if the billing and shipping addresses do not match exactly
- Select the shipping method and a payment method.
- Type in your credit card information and go to the Payment Gateway
- Confirm the payment. Verify that the entered information is accurate to optimize satisfaction. Make the online payment at a secured payment gate.
- The order should be complete. You should receive a webpage confirming that your order has been placed. Usually you should be prompted to check your e-mail as a copy of an electronic receipt has been sent.
- Bitcoin is the world's most widely used alternative currency with a total market cap of approximately $7.8 billion. The bitcoin network is made up of thousands of computers run by individuals all over the world.
- Founded in June 2012, Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and platform where merchants and consumers can transact with the new digital currency bit coin.
- 960,000 consumer wallets, 23,000 merchants, 4,000 API applications U.S., and bank integration
- Like in real life, your wallet must be secured. Bitcoin makes it possible to transfer value anywhere in a very easy way and it allows you to be in control of your money. Such great features also come with great security concerns. At the same time, Bitcoin can provide very high levels of security if used correctly
Securing Your Wallet
- You should be wary of any service designed to store your money online. Many exchanges and online wallets suffered from security breaches in the past and such services generally still do not provide enough insurance and security to be used to store money like a bank
- A Bitcoin wallet is like a wallet with cash. If you wouldn't keep a thousand dollars in your pocket, you might want to have the same consideration for your Bitcoin wallet. In general, it is a good practice to keep only small amounts of bitcoins on your computer, mobile, or server for everyday uses and to keep the remaining part of your funds in a safer environment
- Backup your wallet
- Stored in a safe place, a backup of your wallet can protect you against computer failures and many human mistakes. It can also allow you to recover your wallet after your mobile or computer was stolen if you keep your wallet encrypted
- Your bitcoins can be lost forever if you don't have a backup plan for your peers and family. If the location of your wallets or your passwords are not known by anyone when you are gone, there is no hope that your funds will ever be recovered. Taking a bit of time on these matters can make a huge difference.
- It is a fast way to pay and get paid online. Paypal allows people to send money without sharing financial information. People also have the flexibility to pay using their account balances, bank accounts, and credit cards.
- As of 2014, there are over 143 million active Paypal accounts, in 193 markets, and 26 currencies worldwide.
- PayPal allows for global commerce, through which it processes over 9 million payments each day.
- PayPal, which was bought by eBay for $1.3 billion in late 2002, had contributed to 41 percent of eBay's revenues in 2013.
- It is nationally headquartered in San Jose, California, and internationally headquartered in Singapore.
- PayPal is now looking to make changes which will allow their customers to change their payment method after they make their purchase. If a person first chooses to make a payment on their Visa, they can later log into their account to change their payment to their Discover card, without paying an additional fee. While the merchant will be paid immediately, the customer has the option to make several payments.
- Google Wallet allows you the convenience of an online wallet combined with the luxury of loyalty points all in one place. It is an easier way to store all of your credit card information in one place and a safer alternative than other online wallets. Sharing financial information is risky, but Google Wallet stores all information with Google Wallet Purchase Protection that covers 100% of eligible unauthorized Google Wallet transactions.
- Google Wallet allows you to shop in stores, send money and make online purchases on Google Play and other online merchants.
- You can use Google Wallet in over 125 countries
- Online merchants in over 160 countries and territories accept Google Wallet as well
It is feasible to agree that not every customer may not be fully satisfied with their product(s), in which they purchased using their Online Wallet. In this case another transaction is required between the consumer and the supplier in order for the consumer to receive a refund. Accordingly, the unsatisfied customer would contact the supplier (either by email or phone) and agree to essentially a trade back in which the consumer would send back the product(s) in return for the monetary value spent on the product. It is essential to understand in how the money shall be returned. Online wallet purchases are usually transferred to the supplier by a credit, replacing the use of physical money that retracts compensation form the account connected to the online wallet. When in the request for a refund - after the agreement of the returning of the product to the supplier - a credit is restored back into the account of the online wallet. The Terms of Service is very specific on their policies - serving as a thorough breakdown of how exchanges are handled with the online wallet (for example Gift Cards, Google Wallet Card, etc.)
- Yahoo! Wallet
- MSN Wallet
- AOL Wallet
- CyberCash, Inc.
- Google Checkout
- Google Wallet
- Amazon Payments