Although digital wallets, also known as e-wallets, have been in use for long years, it has started to come to the fore more with the impact of the Coronavirus epidemic on e-commerce. In addition to this effect, the use of blockchain technology in many sectors has also affected the use of digital wallets more. To explain briefly; a digital wallet can be defined as an electronic wallet where the individual collects credit cards, debit cards, and prepaid cards. Digital wallets that prevent people from worrying about their bank card information being stolen allows cardholders to securely store, update and delete their card information whenever they want. The information kept in digital wallets is stored using cloud-based data storage facilities. Digital wallets allow people to pay not only with credit, and debit cards but also with cryptocurrencies. There are many types of digital wallets currently on the market. There is a similarity in these wallets' basic working principles, but the areas where they are used may differ most of the time. Some digital wallets can work compatible with mobile devices, while some digital wallets can work compatible with the computer. Some digital wallets can even be used offline. There are many benefits of digital wallets, which are very reliable and useful in terms of payment systems where people have great concerns about their data. In this article, the effects of digital wallets on legal relations are mentioned from different perspectives.
II. Effects of Digital Wallets on Legal Relations
An E-wallet or digital wallet is a tool that facilitates individuals' electronic commerce transactions. A digital wallet can be used to purchase something on e-commerce websites or to physically go to the shopping area to purchase something. In this context, the active use of digital wallets in business life requires addressing the legal dimension. Payments made through digital wallets are quickly transferred to the seller's account, while the buyer can get the product without reliability concern. In this respect, it will be very easy to resolve a possible dispute, since the money transfer transactions between the buyer and seller are recorded by digital wallet providers. It is also clear that digital wallet records will be very important in resolving disputes considering the large transaction volumes achieved by e-commerce in means of the pandemic and the increasing use of digital wallets.
Besides the benefits it provides in the resolution of disputes, it brings up the legal relations between the user and the provider regarding personal data at the point that the data stored by digital wallets are personal data. Digital wallet providers which are under the definitions of "data processor" and "data controller" establish various relationships with the personal data of third parties. Within this respect, digital wallet providers are obliged not to harm the fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals and the privacy of private life in the processing of this data. All kinds of personal data of the digital wallet users are processed, including their identity information, addresses, bank account information, financial savings, business transactions, and consumer habits by the digital wallet providers. In this respect, it is also important to mention that digital wallet providers are under obligation as a data controller within the scope of the legislation on the protection of personal data.
Although digital wallets have entered our lives many years ago, they have become highly used especially due to the increase in e-commerce with the effect of the pandemic epidemic and storage space of cryptocurrencies. Traceability of transactions made through digital wallets and storing them in cloud-based data systems require very sensitive action in terms of personal data. Digital wallets are used to store bank account information of individuals for now but they may turn into structures containing much different information in the future. Today, digital wallets are used not only to carry out basic financial transactions but also to verify the identity of the owner. At this point, it can be realized that some of the restrictions arising from legal obligations can also be controlled easily by matching digital wallets, and the official identities of individuals. For instance, age control can be made through the digital wallet in cases where the legal age limit is sought to carry out a legal transaction. In the future, it is obviously seen that classic payment methods will be abandoned by matching citizenship ID, driver's license, health status card, and similar documents with digital wallets. It is also predicted that many legal arrangements will be needed within this respect.
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