A Smart Wallet -- The potential for mobile payments is huge. So are the potential legal and regulatory hurdles

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Banks, retailers, and pundits are paying a lot of attention to mobile payments, which typically involve the use of smartphones and tablets to pay for purchases. But a lack of mobile infrastructure has kept the use of mobile payments fairly low in the U.S.

The space is evolving quickly, however. More infrastructure is being rolled out, while new software and cloud-based solutions are enabling payment processing without the need for a network of specialized in-store terminals. For their part, consumers are already well equipped to take advantage of these developments. Today, 61 percent of American consumers have smartphones or tablets, up from 48 percent last year, according to a recent study from Vantiv, a provider of payment processing strategies, and the Mercator Advisory Group, an independent research firm.

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