|The rollout of Google Wallet means owners of Nexus S 4G phones from Sprint can download an app that will allow them to pay for purchases by waving your phone at properly equipped cash registers.|
Most of the electronic payment options are tied to credit cards and debit cards, and the same costs will transfer to mobile payments. Purchase protections vary by type of payment, and it is up to the consumer to read the fine print and understand the risks of unauthorized activity or errors on their statement.
- Tie your payments to a credit card. This gives you the best protections no matter where you make your purchase. Credit card purchase protections, caps on liability and regulations will also apply to a mobile payment backed by a credit card. Under federal law, you are responsible for the first $50 in unauthorized charges after you notify your bank. You also have the right to dispute a charge and the right to charge back an item.
- Payments linked to debit cards have the same purchase protections and liability as a standard debit card.
- Avoid billing to prepaid cards. Prepaid cards have more fees than credit and debit cards. They typically cost more and do not have the same purchase protections or caps on liability.
- Do not bill to gift cards. Gift cards do not offer purchase protections. If you must use a gift card for payment, keep the gift card receipt. If your phone is stolen, contact the merchant immediately to limit your losses.
- Avoid billing to your telephone account. These accounts offer no protections or caps on liability. Ask your carrier to block third-party charges to your cellphone or landline. Consumers must pay the wireless company for disputed charges even if a report of a disputed amount was made and the report is pending investigation. If you do bill to a telephone company, place a cap on any third-party charges to your phone bill.
- If you lose your phone, call your cellular carrier immediately to disable your phone. Call your bank or credit card issuer to block access to your accounts.
- No matter what payment method you use, look carefully at your statements for any charges that are incorrect. Report errors promptly.
- Send complaints to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
- Stay within your budget. The easier the payment, the easier it is to make impulse purchases and spend more than you intended.