FOX23 Investigates: Can mobile wallets protect your personal information?

TULSA, Okla. — Billions of dollars are wasted each year as Americans battle credit card fraud.

FOX23′s Janna Clark sat down with one cyber security expert, who said there is an additional layer of security that most Americans may not be aware of, or using at all.

A mobile wallet is where smartphone users can upload their credit or debit cards digitally to their phone. You can simply tap your phone at a register and pay for your purchase.

You might think that this wouldn’t be secure, especially if your phone is stolen.

Caleb Barrow, a cyber security expert, disagrees.

“Generally speaking, the credit card is actually not even stored in the phone. It sets up a secure token between your phone and your bank so that it’s only passing that information back and forth. That merchant isn’t able to actually see the credit card number. So it’s actually a more secure way to pay,” said Barrow.

While mobile wallets are a great option for credit cards, Barrow says avoid placing your debit card in the wallet.

Credit cards limit your liability in case of fraud. With a debit card, that money is difficult to recover once its left your bank account.

There is a limited risk if you lose your phone.

“The great thing about having your credit card in a mobile wallet is that you’re still going to have to sign into that phone to use it,” said Barrow. “So even if you lose your phone, you can’t get access to those credit cards.”

Barrow says you can even put your phone in “lost mode,” which disables the mobile wallet without having to cancel your cards.

You can also place plane tickets, gift cards, or car insurance registration in a mobile wallet.

“These mobile wallets are highly secure and a very recommended way to keep yourself safe,” said Barrow.