Perhaps you’ve mastered the pinch-and-shuffle method in order to extract the correct one, but—let’s face it—that’s not ideal in any case scenario. This includes many inconvenient times during rush hour grocery shopping time and folks in line behind you are getting tired of watching you fan out every credit card imaginable until you’ve found the right one. Sure you could have a second career as a Las Vegas card dealer with the amount of practice that your fingers have experienced, but—again, let’s face it—the bulky block that was once your wallet has (literally) out grown you.

To the rescue comes the mobile wallet. It’s an exact replica of your physical wallet minus the card shuffle headaches. All you have to do is download a mobile wallet app of your choice to your phone, insert and store your credit and debit card info, and use it to make purchases at most participating stores. Unlike the physical make up of a credit or debit card, the mobile wallet allows its users to easily access the features of a credit or debit card without having to carry it around or worry about misplacing it. The convenience factor is also a plus as transactions are much faster than waiting for someone to hand you your change or process your credit card.

How Does a Mobile Wallet Work?

Once you’ve downloaded the mobile wallet app onto your phone (i.e. — Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay) and entered your credit and debit card information, you’re ready for bulk-free transactions. When it comes time to make a purchase with your mobile wallet, open up your mobile app and click on the credit or debit card of your choice. You’d then hold your phone to an in-store terminal device (most stores that accept credit or debit cards have them) and it’ll acknowledge and accept your payment as if you physically swiped the card within the credit card machine. Online shopping is also a breeze, even more so with the convenience of using your phone. When it’s time to checkout your item(s) online, because you already have the mobile wallet app downloaded to your phone, some sites will let you select your mobile wallet app as your payment option instead of having to remember and enter your card information.

Are Mobile Wallets Secure?

The perks with inputting your credit or debit card information within the mobile wallet app is the comfort in knowing that you don’t have to worry about keeping track of all your cards. You can also install a fingerprint requirement or personal identification number to unlock your phone, creating a two-step authentication factor. That way, if you misplace your phone, anyone other than yourself who tries to access your phone or mobile app has to confirm your identity. If you physically misplace your credit or debit card, anyone can use it especially for online shopping sprees where there’s no picture ID requirement.

Popular Mobile Wallet Apps

Mobile wallet apps are very similar in usage and features. Here are some of the most popular mobile wallet apps available:

Apple Pay

Unlike an actual mobile wallet app to download, all iPhone users just need to provide their credit card information to their Apple account and then use their iPhone as their mobile wallet. A debit card is free of charge while the credit card may charge a fee.

Google Pay

This Silicon Valley giant gives an even greater reason to be popular as Google developed their own mobile wallet for users. Google Pay comes preloaded on most Android phones and is accepted at many retail stores. However in order to send money from one user to another, you need to download a different app called Google Pay Send.

Samsung Pay

Although Samsung Pay is limited to Samsung phones, its universal acceptance throughout most retail stores makes this app very popular among its users. Samsung pay works with many credit card readers, even older ones that use a magnetic strip. By holding the phone next to the reader, the credit card information contained in the magnetic strip gets transmitted through a magnetic secure transmission (MST). From there some kind of technological magic occurs and with a simple high-pitched “beep,” the transaction is complete.

Overall the convenience of having all your credit card information stored and easily accessible is one less thing to have to worry about while using a mobile wallet. That extra step of security measures is also a plus if someone were to compromise your belongings, including your phone. With all the technological advances available, a mobile wallet is the next step to financial freedom and provides an eased mind in majority of your financial decisions. Better yet—for most—wallet, purse or fanny pack is no longer needed or included.