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      Lose the plastic and use your smartphone to shop

      COLUMBIA (WACH) --- The days of swiping your plastic could soon come to an end.

      This all thanks to developing technology called mobile wallets.

      The concept isn't new but within the past few months the technology has been picking up steam.

      â??Youâ??re definitely going to see more convenience, practicality,â?? says Josh Gelinas, Spokesperson AT&T.

      To get in on the action you need to download a wallet based app onto your smartphone that syncs with your financial accounts.

      Once that's done, a cell phone can be your personal mobile ATM.

      When using your phone at a store, a device known as Near Field Communication enables your transaction to go through.

      â??It reads your phone and basically does the same thing that a credit card transaction would,â?? says Stephen Miano, Owner of That Computer Store.

      But before you jump on board not every cell phone is compatible with a mobile wallet function. Another issue to point out is each wireless provider is working on their own version of a mobile wallet app.

      AT &T is one of them.

      â??You have to have a special encrypted sim card and than a four digit PIN code to even access the application,â?? says Gelinas.

      Stephen Miano, owner of That Computer Store in Irmo, says he likes the idea of a mobile wallet but sees some potential problems.

      â??So what happens if Iâ??m going on a shopping spree and I forgot to charge my phone, now I canâ??t buy all those cool gadgets and clothes that I wanted to get because my battery is dead. Which means my wallet is dead,â?? says Miano.

      Miano also says merchants like himself may find it difficult to ensure their compatibility with the different mobile wallet apps out there.

      â??There are so many competing standards, Google Wallet obliviously, but Apple is not going to want the Google App on their phone, they're going to want their own initiative that they're working on,â?? says Miano.

      Merchants are also worried about which vendor will have to pick up the tab for those transaction fee's. The fees are charged each time a customer buys something.

      All in all Miano says the technology will gain speed but at this moment folks are just trying to figure out if going cashless is the best way to go.