Although early adopters' largely positive experiences have begun to allay others' mobile wallet security concerns, many of us are hesitant to move forward sans cash and card – which is something I totally understand. And although I don't want to be left behind, I am truly still on the fence and trying to decide whether mobile wallets are safe to use, and if it's even a technology I want to consider right now. If you're in the same boat, read on as we explore some of the pros and cons of using a mobile wallet.
They reduce the amount of stuff you'll have to take with you when you leave the house.
Mobile payment security risks are actually lower than you'd expect. That's because rather than using your credit or debit card number and pin, they use "tokens" – which are generated by your payment provider and work like credit card numbers, but are useless if stolen. In addition, some providers even configure some tokens to work only with specific retailers, below a certain dollar limit, or before a specific expiration date. (Check with your mobile wallet service provider to find out how they work to limit your security risks.)
If you lose your cash, it's gone. If you lose your smartphone, your mobile wallet can simply be deactivated.
In addition to making payments using your mobile wallet, you can also use it to store (and use) coupons, gift cards and more. Best of all, your wallet can send you alerts when these items are about to expire, so you'll never miss an opportunity to save a little dough.
Not all of the shops you go to are equipped to accept mobile payments, especially some of the smaller mom-and-pops.
Nefarious acts by hackers could leave you vulnerable. And although organizations have security measures in place, if someone were to breech your mobile wallet provider's system, your information could certainly be at risk.
If you inadvertently allow your phone's battery to drain while you're out and about, your mobile wallet will be useless, and if you don't have a card or cash with you, any purchases will have to be delayed.
You'll still have to carry your ID, driver's license, insurance cards, etc., so a mobile wallet won't totally eliminate the need to carry a wallet with you (though there are some wallet-style phone cases that could at least limit the number of items you'll have to keep on your person).
If internet service goes out at your favorite shop, café, or other local haunt, you may not be able to make an electronic payment.
For additional details that might help eliminate or mitigate your mobile wallet security concerns, please review your mobile wallet provider's website. There you'll find the most up to date information available, and can truly understand what your provider is doing to protect you.