National

Nov 16, 2012 11:12 AM by NBC News

New checkout trend: Pay by phone

(NBC NEWS) - Retail experts expect smartphone-carrying Christmas shoppers to be as common as candy canes this year, and many will be using those phones to pay for their purchases.

"This is the first holiday season where digital wallets have really been deployed in force," says the Electronic Transaction Association's Jason Oxman.

Led by companies like Square and Paypal, mobile payment technology has taken off.

Even Bank of America offers their own card-swiping attachments.

But with credit card theft and fraud as widespread as ever some consumers might be asking "is it safe"?

"The short answer is, yes, it is very safe and reliable and in many ways more convenient, more useful way of engaging in a credit card transaction," Oxman says.

Oxman says in some instances mobile payments are even safer.

"When you're using, for example, a Cloud-based digital wallet, that information is not even stored on the phone itself, it's in the Cloud. You're accessing it on your phone but the information about your credit card is not physically stored on the phone," he explains.

That's why predictions about the mobile payment industry are also at Cloud-level.

"We will reach the point over the course of the next decade where consumers will use their mobile phones as payment devices more often than those plastic credit cards they've been carrying around for the last 50 years," Oxman predicts.

And with more smartphones than people right now, it could happen even sooner.

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