Digital wallet apps offer convenience

Consumer Reports advises using app with credit card protections

More and more people are paying for stuff without having to get out their wallet. Instead, they simply wave, slide, or tap their smart phone loaded with digital wallet app.

Maryssa Menkin likes the convenience of the Square Wallet app, which links to her credit card.

"I  hate carrying a lot of things and, you know, I find that I do always have my phone on me," she said. "So, it's just very simple."

Starbucks is one of hundreds of thousands of businesses that have signed up for Square Wallet, an app that's free to consumers.

Square is compatible with several iPhone and Android models.

Other digital wallets are not as accessible.

"For instance, Google Wallet and Isis aren't available on iPhones and only work with some service providers," said  Consumer  Reports' Amanda Walker. "They also require a wireless technology that only some stores can use."

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

"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," Walker said.

If you use a digital wallet app, Consumer Reports recommends using one that links to a credit card because it offers better protections.

Be sure to use a pass code on your smart phone, and if you lose your phone, report it immediately to your credit card company and cell service provider.

For a list of recent stories Marilyn Moritz has done, click here.


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