Electronic wallets and smart phones are being used for frequently as an alternative form of credit, but this does not mean that traditional plastic credit cards are becoming obsolete. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse states that there are still some glaring loopholes regarding online and mobile credit card payment methods, therefore consumers need to remain prudent. Not all merchants readily accept alternative credit card payments, so you can rest assured that your credit card will continue to be used for years to come.
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Most electronic credit card alternatives make use of RFID technology and smart phones. Merchants must have credit card terminals that can read and process these devices. In the future, this could become the norm, but it would be in addition to traditional credit card processing. Mobile wallets may be convenient and trendy, but the fact is that it is still too soon to say if it will catch on.
Alternatives to Plastic Credit Cards
E-wallets as they are commonly known are online and mobile-based credit card processing options. Instead of physically using a credit card, consumers can send payments to merchants and individuals via their email addresses. Mobile wallets are similar, except smart phones are used to send payments. Lastly, some apps have been developed that turn smart phones into virtual credit cards.
Virtual credit cards are also becoming more popular in some circles. Instead of issuing a physical credit card, some companies simply send their customers their credit card numbers and security information in the form of email.
While this traditional credit card alternative is thought to be safer than mobile technology, you could experience theft if your email is compromised.
Because all of these payment forms can be tied directly to a plastic credit card, there are some that fear this technology will become the norm. Unfortunately, Reuters recently reported that many cases of credit card theft and fraud are now tied to mobile phone usage. Mobile browsers are often left insecure, leaving criminals easy access to a treasure trove of information.
Not All Merchants Accept Mobile Credit Card Payments
Online merchants are able to accept most traditional credit cards simply because of the way that they are processed. However, stores are much more limited. Unless you see a sign or advanced credit card terminal, it is likely that your local Mom and Pop stores simply do not have the capability to process mobile credit card or e-wallet payments.
There may be some national and regional chain stores that are able to accept alternative credit card payments, but even these companies are still working to update all of their processing terminals.
For instance, Starbucks was one of the first national chains that advertised mobile e-wallet payments. Major cities will usually have more merchants that stay on the cutting edge of technology. You can always call ahead before you go shopping to see which stores have this option available.
Online Credit Card Fraud Can Occur
While credit card companies like Visa are constantly working on new ways to cut down on credit card theft, the mobile web has been targeted by many enterprising criminals. Consider the fact that many smart phones make use of Wi-Fi Internet connections. Anytime that you make a mobile credit card payment while on the go, anyone else plugged into these Wi-Fi connections can potentially see and record the details of your transaction.
While mobile credit card fraud does occur on a somewhat regular basis, remember that it is still safer to use credit rather than check or bank draft. The anti-credit card theft legislature that has been passed in the U.S. makes it so that cardholders can only be held liable for $50 of any fraudulent transaction. There are also additional measures that can be taken to make mobile credit card payments safer.
Using a credit card CID code and making payments only from secure web connections can make is so that your sensitive data stays safe. If you still feel nervous about making mobile credit card payments, you can opt to use a PC. Ask your credit card company what it is doing to make mobile and e-wallet based payments safer for consumers and learn how you can take advantage of this technology. Eventually, many credit card account holders may very well be using their smart phones to initiate the majority of their credit card transactions, but for now, plastic credit cards aren’t going anywhere.
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