Shopping With Your Smartphone: Is It Safe?

5:43 PM, Jun 17, 2013   |    comments
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Undated -- Gone are the days of needing a wallet. People are now shopping with their smartphone's digital wallet! Scan or swipe and you're done!

Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports Money Adviser, looked to see if you can really leave your wallet at home. The purchasing apps are linked to users credit cards, and can be convenient for people who don't like carrying a lot of things on them.

The Square Wallet app is compatible with a number of iPhone and Android models, and Walker said it's pretty easy to use.
But other similar apps, which are included in the list of what's called "digital wallets," are not as widely accessible. Walker said,
"For instance, Google Wallet and Isis aren't available on iPhones and only work with some service providers. They also require a wireless technology that only some stores can use."

Some digital wallet apps will only link with a few credit cards. So you may need to link to a prepaid card, which can incur additional fees. That may also mean you don't have the best protections if you lose your phone or someone breaks into your account.

Walker said, "Prepaid cards, whether in your hand or on your phone, have no guaranteed protections against unauthorized transactions, so you could lose whatever balance is on the card."

But if you prefer to use a digital wallet, Consumer Reports suggests making sure it links to a credit card - for the best consumer protection. They also suggest consumers be sure to report a lost phone or suspicious activity to the credit-card company right away. And inform your cellular carrier, so it can disable the phone.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.

WFMY News 2/Consumer Reports

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