Monday, July 14, 2014

Will We Ever Get To Leave Our Wallet At Home

I recently was forced to buy a new wallet.  The old one was starting to crumble but it could at least hold everything and every new one I found seemed to small for my needs.  Eventually I found one but I also came upon the realization that I needed to pare down what I carried.  Between the necessary amount of cash, credit cards, courtesy cards, business cards, train tickets, subway card, drivers license, AAA card, health cards, receipts, etc., my wallet was overflowing.  I needed to pare down and as I did, I kept wondering will there ever be a day I can keep my wallet at home.

For some courtesy cards, I was able to transfer them into my iPhone into an app called CardStar and for others, I rely on my phone number as the identifier.  But Costco wants me to carry a card and others, too.  I'd love to move my drivers license into an app but I am bot sure the police would be so pleased.  And while I have cut down on the number of credit cards I carry, I would be happy to transfer all my credit card activity into my smartphone and let it tell the retailer which one I wanted to charge my purchase against.

We are slowly moving away from carrying physical cards and currency, but the transition seems to be taking a very long time.  There are still places that require cash on hand.  I could try flashing my phone to the beach parking attendant or try to pay for my beach tag through Venmo or some other payment sharing app, but I don't see too many companies announcing that they accept payments that way.  The MTA Subway once required coins and now it is a MetroCard but one day soon all payments could happen through an app too.

And so I still carry a wallet and it still feels too stuffed with unnecessary items.  I can only hope that one day in the near future, all identification, courtesy cards, cash and credit payments, and even payment receipts can all be managed via our mobile devices.  Then my pocket will no longer feel dragged down by the bulk and weight of a wallet, bending and cracking cards, over the course of its lifetime.  The world is moving in that direction but not as quickly as I might hope. 

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