How Safe Are Money Market Funds? And the Mobile Payments Battle

Investors have been flocking to money market funds for decades, and today their total value stands at $2.5 trillion. Businesses, non-profits, government and individuals seem to think they're a sound investment, but how safe are they?

The funds aren't FDIC insured like certificates of deposit (CDs), bank accounts, and the high-yield savings accounts known as money market accounts. If there ever is a “run on the fund,” think George Bailey in "It’s a Wonderful Life." 
With so much money at stake, Mary Schapiro, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, is proposing new rules to protect investors. But the industry is pushing back, saying her plans could kill the funds all together.

The SEC's five commissioners will vote on August 29.

This week on WNYC's Money Talking, Rana Foroohar of Time and Joe Nocera of The New York Times assess the vulnerability of money market funds and weigh in on whether the proposed SEC rules are necessary.

Then, as consumers get more comfortable paying with their smartphones, what'll it take for a tech company like Google, Amazon or the start-up Square to win the battle for your mobile wallet?