In recent months, there has been a lot of discussion about the inevitability of consumers adopting mobile wallet systems to make their everyday purchases instead of using traditional credit cards, and now some experts say there might be drawbacks to such a change.
Mobile wallet systems, which use smartphones with special technology embedded in them to make purchases using connected credit card accounts, are quickly proliferating as companies roll out and test them with consumers and businesses alike, according to a report from the Hartford Courant. Meanwhile, other types of "contactless payments," like ordering directly through smartphone apps at certain businesses, are also becoming more popular. A recent study by MasterCard found that there will be as many as 150 million mobile devices in the U.S. capable of making contactless purchases within the next five years.
However, consumer experts say that this might be a troublesome trend for some borrowers, because the MasterCard study showed those using this type of payment method will spend 30 percent more than they would on a traditional credit card, the report said.
"The easier it is to buy, the more some people will spend," Sheryle McMillan, regional director of education and community relations at Money Management International, told the newspaper. "Technology is making it more challenging to keep track of spending. When you can buy things instantly, there's no time to think twice about whether or not you actually need the items or how the purchase is going to affect your budget or drive up your credit card debt."
However, some mobile payment companies are preparing for this eventuality, and plan to build in some controls within their wallet systems. Some will allow consumers to keep tabs on spending and display the amount of money spent in certain areas graphically, while others may allow users to put caps on certain types of spending within their wallet program.
Keeping balances low and making all credit card payments on time are two of the most important factors in maintaining a healthy credit score, but consumers should also take the time to check their credit reports. Sometimes, unfair markings can have a negative impact on their standing, and working with a credit repair company can help to clear up these issues.