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Protect Your Mobile Wallet

Keep your mobile wallet safe and secure

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- A new technology takes shoppers from the mall to the coffee shop to the gas station.

They no longer have to thumb through their wallet for a credit card, dig for bills or even count out coins, just simply tap a smartphone to pay the tab.

But moving to mobile payments raises questions about keeping those transactions secure.

"As mobile phones become more prevalent, and as the number of methods of making payments, it's important to look at the hurdles facing its implementation," says Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D) New York.

Mobile payments pose similar concerns to those that have plagued search engines and social media sites.

How much personal information are you willing to hand over to retailers with each transaction.

"Is that something I want? Is that something I can opt out of? What are the controls on that data? I think these are all unresolved questions that they're going to have to answer," says National Consumer League's John Breyault.

But the convenience could make this all-digital approach worth the trouble.

Breyualt says, "For example, the information that you put on your mobile wallet can typically be encrypted in a way that would make it more difficult for thieves to use that information than if they just had your credit card."

Adopting an option like Google Wallet, launched last September, remains far off for a lot of consumers who are just not ready to cash in their real wallets.