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Mobile wallets are convenient, but how safe are they?

Some shoppers use this method of payment because they don't like handling credit cards
Posted at 3:00 AM, Dec 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-21 10:07:46-05

Your GPS, your music, your camera, and your friends' phone numbers all live on your smartphone these days. But there's another feature not everyone is taking advantage of: the mobile wallet. It has now become standard on iPhones and most Androids.

So, should you use it? Is it secure?

Erin Hinebrock is a fan of the mobile wallet. She was doing her holiday shopping, using just her Apple Watch synced to her iPhone, to pay.

"You just double tap on your watch," she said. "And you have paid."

She is one of the millions of Americans who now shop with mobile wallets, and she loves it.

"My card comes up and it's super easy," she said. "I don't have to fuss with getting my credit card out or cash or anything."

Mikaela Van der Wally and Kelly Carson, who own a craft boutique, say the technology makes transactions much easier.

"Not having to mess with change, not having to carry change around all day, is such a help," Carson said.

Are the fears justified?

Nathan Grant with MoneyTips.com says he understands why some people might hesitate to use a mobile wallet.

"I think the fear comes from, 'Well, I don't want to save my personal info on my phone,'" he said.

However, Grant says adding a debit or credit card to your mobile wallet actually adds a layer of protection, because a mobile wallet uses an encrypted number to complete the transaction, not your actual credit card number.

"What it does," he explained, "is allows the payment to be processed without exposing your actual information."

If you lose your phone or smartwatch, your wallet, more than likely, stays safe.

"You're gonna need either like a passcode, fingerprint scan, maybe a face scan if you have Apple products," he said.

The major mobile wallets are Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay, with apps already integrated with your mobile device.

On top of security, mobile wallets can help free up space in your actual wallet. Plus, they can store other information, such as concert and airline tickets, and hotel reservations.

One last reminder though—Grant says to keep a card or cash handy. Most retailers, big and small, accept phone-based payments, but your local neighborhood shop may not.
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