Another major restaurant chain signs on to support contactless credit card payments.

Sandwich chain Subway announced plans to launch Google Wallet's PayPass technology in at least 8,000 restaurants during the first quarter of 2012. According to MasterCard officials, contactless payment tools have won acceptance at quick service restaurants and convenience stores, where customers appreciate faster checkout.

Though PayPass has been available to merchants since 2002, recent changes in consumer technology have made contactless credit card acceptance more attractive to shoppers. PayPass includes built-in support for Google Wallet, the technology company's solution for enabling mobile phones to securely store and transmit account details.

Smartphone security precautions

When your phone doubles as your wallet, keep copies of important phone numbers and account information in a safe place. That's one of the key recommendations from identity theft protection service IdentityHawk.

In a statement to reporters, IdentityHawk spokesman Jeff Paradise advised consumers to protect themselves from accidental theft of payment-enabled smartphones. Services like Google Wallet may tempt some Americans to leave their physical wallets at home. Paradise recommends that Google Wallet users enable strong pass codes or swipe locks to prevent thieves from gaining access to a live credit card through a lost or stolen mobile phone.

Credit cards offer fraud protection

Paradise also noted the differences in fraud protection bundled with credit cards and debit cards. Prepaid debit cards and other MasterCard accounts linked to checking accounts can put customers' cash at risk, Paradise said.

Even when banks offer zero liability for fraudulent purchases on debit cards, money deducted from customers' accounts can cause checks to bounce or automated bill payments to fail, resulting in additional costs and hassle. Paradise recommends that cutting-edge consumers use only credit cards with Google Wallet or similar mobile payment services.