RealTime IT News

Ah, Digital Wallet? What's That?

A new survey of online consumers found that only 26 percent of Internet buyers know about digital wallet applications and their capabilities.

A BizRate.com Flash Survey of 6,800 online buyers at the point of sale found that 16 percent have at least heard of a digital wallet, but the remaining 58 percent are unfamiliar with the product.

Created to provide Internet users with a convenient way to store and use online shopping information, digital wallets provide instant access to items such as credit card numbers, site logins and passwords and frequent flier numbers. A number of companies offer them.

When the findings were analyzed to explore the use of digital wallets, the numbers verified that few men or women who are aware of the applications actually use them, BizRate said.

Of the 51 percent of male shoppers familiar with a digital wallet, only 14 percent have used one. Of 27 percent of female respondents aware of it, only 21 percent have experimented with the product.

Among the small population of digital wallet users, credit card information storage was the most appealing feature, followed by personal information storage, password and user name management, and order tracking.

Other important uses mentioned included receipt management, address book functions and merchant loyalty points/rewards.

"It is (only) with experience and trust that consumers will become more comfortable with all the services the Internet has to offer," said Farhad Mohit, president and CEO of BizRate.com. "Our research helps e-business gauge the level of awareness and use of new products, in real-time."

The survey also found that online shoppers who have made more than 10 purchases over the Internet in the past six months are twice as likely to have used the application than those who have made fewer than five online purchases.

Microsoft Wallet appears to be preferred among those who have used a digital wallet, with 61 percent stating they have used the Microsoft product in the past. eWallet came in second at 22 percent with the AOL wallet a distant third at 14 percent.

BizRate.com evaluates e-commerce activity and merchant quality across the Web by soliciting information from online buyers as they make their purchases.

Its Merchant Ratings differentiate merchants on quality of service metrics.