Digital Wallets- What they are and how to add your TrailWest Bank debit card to yours


Have you ever seen people simply hold their phone or watch over a card reader to pay in a store and wondered what they were doing? They were likely using a Digital Wallet. Digital Wallets are becoming increasingly common and the technology offers an opportunity to add convenience to the busyness of life.  Here are some highlights of how Digital Wallets work and how to assess whether they may be beneficial.

What is a Digital Wallet?

Simply put, a Digital Wallet is an electronic version of a physical wallet. It stores payment information- such as credit and debit cards – in an online account. When making a purchase, the digital wallet provides the payment information instead of requiring a physical credit or debit card to complete a transaction.

Digital Wallets are gaining popularity, but they are nothing new. PayPal became the first Digital Wallet when it was introduced in 1998.  However, the rise of smartphones, tablets, and wearable technology has expanded the possibilities of Digital Wallets.

Can I use a Digital Wallet on my mobile device?

In many cases, a device will come pre-loaded with a Digital Wallet. Each device and/or app will have its own instructions to follow to connect the TrailWest Bank Debit card information to the app.  Open the wallet app on a supported device and follow the instructions to get started.

TrailWest Bank Debit cards are compatible with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, as well as wallets on Apple and Garmin wearable devices.

How do I make a payment?

There is nothing to swipe or insert at the register when paying with a Digital Wallet.  Digital Wallets allow for contactless paymentss.  This usually involves opening a Digital Wallet app, selecting the TrailWest Bank Debit card, and then holding the device over the payment reader.  It may also require a thumb/fingerprint or request your PIN. This is all possible because of a technology called near-field communications (NFC) that allows devices to exchange information without touching.

What is the benefit?

Most people always keep their smartphones nearby and use them for everything from communication to calendar events. Once a Digital Wallet is enabled on a device it can be used to make purchases at merchants who accept digital payments.  One more reason to keep a smartphone nearby!


Are Digital Wallets Safe?

Card compromise is a BIG concern, and it is smart to be thinking about security. Fortunately, Digital Wallets have features that help protect your card information by using tokenization to assign a device account number (DAN) in place of the 16-digit card number. When a payment is made, the DAN is passed to the merchant instead of the actual card number. That way, if a DAN is ever stolen, the card is still safe. A new DAN can then be assigned to take the place of the one that was compromised.

What does wearable mean?

Digital Wallet technology is also available on some smart watches with the same convenience and security as smartphones. Smart watches are often referred to as “wearables.” TrailWest Bank Debit cards can be added to both Garmin and Apple wearable devices that have a Digital Wallet app! 

TrailWest Bank hopes this information about Digital Wallet payment technology has been helpful. Whether you are setting up a smartphone, tablet, or watch, the process is usually straightforward.  If you have any questions, do not hesitate to call one of our Digital Branch Representatives at (406) 523-5419.  They are available extended hours for your convenience (Monday- Friday from 7 am until 9 pm and Saturday from 9 am until 5 pm).  Or, stop by any of our 16 convenient branches and speak to a Customer Service Representative to learn more.