What is a mobile wallet?

Some say there will be a day when the wallet you carry in your pocket or purse will become obsolete. Technology is evolving in a way that will likely eliminate all our credit cards, store cards, and IDs. We will use our mobile devices as our primary means of commerce and identification. The technology behind mobile wallet combines near field communications (NFC) and applications. Depending on which is used, a user might need to wave their phone near a reader to make a payment or verify identification, or they may open an app and simply click a button.

Mobile wallet is still in its infancy but the technology is quickly gaining steam. Google introduced Google Wallet, a mobile app that turns your Android phone into a wallet by securely storing your credit cards on your phone, and it has gained popularity by using promotional offers. When you make a purchase from a brick-and-mortar store that accepts Google Wallet, you not only pay but you can also redeem discount and promotional offers quickly by simply tapping your phone at the point of sale.

Google Wallet facilitates online shopping by securely storing your credit cards for use on the Internet as well. Paying is quick, easy, and safe when you make a purchase from an online merchant that accepts Google Wallet. If you choose to make your phone a wallet, I seriously suggest a mobile security product as a companion to help protect your device against viruses and malware.

Protect it. Just like your leather wallet, your mobile wallet is portable, it is subject to being lost or stolen and the data contained can be accessed or the applications running may have access to additional information, resulting in your data being compromised. Any time you are using a mobile wallet remember that wireless is inherently insecure. Use a secure virtual private network (VPN) such as the free Hotspot Shield VPN that protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning AmericaDisclosures.