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Consumer Reports: Paying With Your Cell Phone - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Consumer Reports: Paying With Your Cell Phone

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Over the last year, people are starting to pay for stuff by waving, sliding, or tapping their
smart phones. More and more apps are offering different ways to pay—they're referred
to as digital wallets. Consumer Reports Money Adviser took a look at several to see
whether you really can leave your wallet at home.

Starbucks is one of the hundreds of thousands of businesses nationwide that have
signed up for Square Wallet. Square is compatible with a number of iPhone and Android
models, and Consumer Reports Money Adviser says it's pretty easy to use. But other
digital wallets are not as widely accessible.

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. And 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. And that 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.

Still, if you like leaving your bulky wallet at home, Consumer Reports says use an app
such as Square that links to a credit card for the best consumer protections. Just be
sure to report a lost phone or suspicious activity to the credit-card company. And of
course, also inform your cellular carrier right away so that it can disable the phone if it
has been lost or stolen.

 

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