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A student guide to eWallets


Whether you’re a parent planning for your child’s time at university or a savvy student wanting to keep your maintenance loans and grants safe and accessible, there’s a new alternative at the forefront of the global banking industry that’s tailor-made for student life. eWallets are digital wallets, usually accessible via desktops and mobile apps, which allow you to manage your money and make electronic transactions. You can store money in your eWallet from a variety of sources for as long as you need and withdraw it back into your bank accounts at the touch of a button.

An eWallet can either transfer money from person-to-person, known as a peer-to-peer (p2p) transaction, or as a means of payment to a business by a consumer, known as a c2b transaction. This guide is designed to make you aware of all the benefits of having your own eWallet whilst living away at university.

Easy to load money

It takes only a couple of minutes to set up your own eWallet account. Either log in to your chosen eWallet provider on your desktop or download their mobile app and follow their on-screen instructions to add your payment details to make immediate deposits. Furthermore, your eWallet will save your online bank account, credit or debit card details so that you don’t have to waste time inputting sort codes or card numbers every time you want to make a deposit.

Broad range of uses

As a university student, you’re unlikely to be swimming in cash. You will be required to live within a strict weekly or monthly budget. eWallets are actually a very useful budgeting tool, allowing you to deposit a set figure into your eWallet every month for groceries, socialising or even fun stuff like new clothes. Sometimes landlords of student accommodation live overseas. eWallets such as Skrill and Neteller can instantly send your rent money internationally to your landlord’s eWallet for a small fee – just 1.9% of your overall transaction with Skrill, for instance. Those who enjoy online gaming can also use an eWallet to make in-game purchases for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 games, while most online casinos now accept deposits from eWallets to play casino games, including Neteller and Skrill.

Food

If you live in a shared student house with some friends, you’ll no doubt have to share the cost of utility bills and other nice-to-haves such as satellite television. Some eWallet apps such as Mobikwik and Freecharge incorporate split bill functionality, which calculates how much each person owes and automatically generates a link which can be sent around to allow those who owe money to pay via their mobile wallet.

Set up automatic payments

When you’re studying at university, there’s lots going on. Not only are you trying to meet project deadlines, attend seminars and lectures and develop your new social circle, there’s monthly personal bills to pay too. Whether it’s your smartphone contract, your Netflix account or your football season ticket, you can ensure these are paid automatically using an eWallet. Many of the leading eWallets such as PayPal offer automatic payment functionality, depositing funds from your wallet at a set date every month. Consistent bill payments also look good on your credit history, which will be something worth bearing in mind if you’ll be wanting to buy a house after graduation.

Highly secure

In order to use an eWallet, you’ll often be asked by the provider to file a Know Your Customer (KYC) form to verify your identification. Using an eWallet is actually an additional layer of online protection for your sensitive financial information. Payments via eWallets don’t disclose your bank or card details to third parties, allowing you to live, shop and play online simply and safely. Skrill became the first eWallet in the UK to be authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and they commit to encrypting the data you do provide with the highest Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI-DSS Level 1). Most eWallets also offer two-factor authentication, requiring you to input a six-digit code at login after your normal email address and password. This code changes every minute, making it nigh-on impossible for cybercriminals to hack.

Today, it’s estimated that more than two billion smartphone users operate an eWallet for swift digital transactions. Keep up with the times and improve the efficiency of managing your finances at university with an eWallet.

Photographs by Steve PB / Karrie Zhu

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