Smartphones could soon be used just like credit and debit cards in the store checkout line.
USA Today reported Friday that many leading banks and credit card companies are pushing digital wallet applications for smartphones, which would hold debit or credit card information.
When a person is ready to checkout, the app would connect their phone to the store's register. With one tap of a screen, the transaction is done.
"The promise of the mobile wallet is you'll be able to manage your entire financial life from a single device," says Andy Schmidt, research director for commercial banking and payments at TowerGroup, told USA Today.
It could take years before mobile payments are integrated into the mainstream, but already some have security and privacy concerns.
"If wireless carriers expect consumers to feel comfortable using mobile-payment services, they need to provide at least the same level of protections that come with credit cards," Consumers Union senior attorney Michelle Jun said.
Google mobile-payments executive Osama Bedier advised said consumers play a crucial role in safe-guarding their own privacy,
"Right now we're not actually taking any data and storing it or doing anything with it beyond allowing a transaction," he said. "We have a policy around how to do that, and privacy is very important to us."
"The consumer has to be very aware of what data they may be making available," he cautioned. "And they've got to give their consent in every case."