CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — In the season of shopping — and scams — the safest way to buy online may actually be an increasingly popular and easy way to pay.

Senior finance industry analyst Nathan Grant with MoneyTips — a privately held consumer education company — advised using a digital wallet when checking out online.

PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Pay are the dominant examples in the market. These apps act as digital (or mobile) wallets, depending on which device you’re shopping on.

They use a process called tokenization with your stored banking or credit card information, meaning each purchase is processed using a unique token ID, which is similar to a credit card or bank account number. Instead, it’s a randomized number used in place of the real thing, and that ID is different every time.

The same technology is used on person-to-person payment apps like Venmo or Cash App.

“I think it’s really important not only for convenience’s sake, because believe me, it’s definitely convenient,” Grant began. “And whether you’re checking out online on a website that offers that ability, or you’re using your smart device, you’re essentially using what is probably the most secure way to pay.”

One can never be 100% clear of scams, even when using a digital wallet. Therefore, it’s important to keep your account secure with complex passwords that differ across accounts and by setting up two-factor authentication.

For one more layer of security, use a credit card where possible when paying online, according to Grant, because it’s not directly tied to your bank account like a debit card is.