Replacing A Bulky Wallet With a Smartphone

#Future

Tue, Dec 11th, 2012 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On Bits, Nick Bilton explains how he's come to replace his bulky wallet -- filled with cards, memberships, business cards, photos -- and does everything with his smartphone instead. And for those that question his sanity, he points out that "if I lose my phone, there is a password to stop someone from opening it. My wallet never came with a password."

Printed photos, which once came in "wallet size," have been replaced by an endless roll of snapshots on my phone. Business cards, one of the more archaic forms of communication from the last few decades, now exist as digital rap sheets that can be shared with a click or a bump.

As for cash, I rarely touch the stuff anymore. Most of the time I pay for things -- lunch, gas, clothes -- with a single debit card. Increasingly, there are also opportunities to skip plastic cards. At Starbucks, I often pay with my smartphone using the official Starbucks app. Other cafes and small restaurants allow people to pay with Square. You simply say your name at a register and voilà, transaction complete.

But wait, what did I do with all of the other cardlike things, like my gym membership I.D., discount cards, insurance cards and coupons? I simply took digital pictures of them, which I keep in a photos folder on my smartphone that is easily accessible. Many stores have apps for their customer cards, and insurance companies have apps that substitute for paper identification.

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