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Mobile Payment Options Are Growing In Popularity, But How Do You Keep Your Info Safe?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - It seems like the ultimate convenience: Paying for coffee, for groceries, for everyday expenses simply by tapping your smartphone. But the trend of mobile payments has also raised new concerns for consumers.

Sree Sreenivasan from CNET suggests how to keep your mobile money secure.

From the mall to the coffee shop to the gas station, instead of thumbing through a wallet for a credit card, digging in your pocket for the right bills our counting out coins, you can simply tap your smartphone to pay the tab. It's the next technology for consumers.

But when using those mobile payment programs, some are concerned if the transactions are 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," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York.

Mobile payments pose similar concerns to those that have plagued search engines and social media sites - how much information are consumers 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?" asked John Breyault of the National Consumers League. "I think these are all unresolved questions that they're going to have to answer."

In addition to the convenience, there could be some advantages to the all-digital approach.

"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," said Breyault.

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

Watch the video for suggestions on how to keep your information private.


Sree Sreenivasan is CBS2′s technology expert, appearing every Wednesday morning at 6:50 am to discuss ways to save you time, money and aggravation. He is also a social media blogger for CNET News. He is a professor and Dean of Student Affairs at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. You can find him onTwitter and Facebook  and on his personal siteE-mail your questions with "CBS New York" as the subject line.

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