With recent strings of sneaky incidences of identity theft, we’re all concerned about our credit cards and financial accounts. Hackers have been stealing point-of-sale (POS) information stored on major retail stores’ servers, which includes customer financial account information if you paid with a card. But what if you didn’t have to pay with a card at all?

Systems like Apply Pay or Google Wallet seek to replace having to carry a physical credit or debit card to access your funds. Instead, you’ll be able to use your smartphone to pay by wirelessly communicating with POS systems through a chip in your device that stores payment information and holding it up to the POS system.

There are 220,00 participating vendors, from fast-food chains like McDonald’s to department stores like Macy’s.

Is this method of payment more secure than using a physical credit card?

Because Apple Pay uses the ‘two-step chip-and-PIN’ credit card system, already in widespread use in Europe, it is considered to be more secure than the magnetic strip on the back of your credit card. In a two-step-chip-and-PIN system, the chip generates a single-use authorization code for each purchase, adding an extra layer of security to the transaction. You won’t be able to make the purchase unless it is validated by the correct owner of the financial account, either with a PIN or fingerprint. And, in the event that your payment information is somehow stolen, you’ll be able to use the same technology that enables you to track down a lost iPhone to shut down your Apple Pay account.

The big question here is: will systems like Apple Pay help keep your payment information more secure? Time will tell, but the system looks promising!