‘Digital wallets’ refer to using your mobile phone, or other digital form, as a way of making a payment instead of using a credit card or cash. Some methods are already being used in America and are starting to be trialled in Australia. If they are the way of the future, then the future has already arrived. While this may all sound like science fiction becoming reality (because it is), as exciting and welcoming as it sounds it’s not going to be a smooth ride.
We’ve already embraced a near-cashless society. Touch and pay credit card machines are everywhere, and work even for small transactions. Smaller coins are being phased out as they cost more to produce than they are worth. All the major names in technological advancement are involved in the digital wallet movement: “Apple Pay, Google bank, PayPal and Amazon Pay…are all on board with digital wallet technology” Business.com. They aren’t the only ones.
The varieties include apps for your smartphone; Bitcoin; and the Coin card which stores multiple credit, debit and gift cards on one electronic card. The Coin card, although the most well-known, already has some competition brewing, as “Plastc, Google Wallet Card, Stratos, Wocket, and Dynamics (from MasterCard) are all similar product offerings allowing users to swipe their cards into a mobile card reader (or use a Bluetooth-enabled scanner) in order to store multiple credit, debit and rewards card on a single piece of plastic” Make Use Of. So, rustling through all the crap you manage to accumulate in your bag when trying to find your wallet while a queue of people are forming behind you, could soon be ancient history.
Unfortunately, it might still be a while before they are the norm. It’s not just the consumer that will need to adapt, so too will retailers and business owners; which will again slow down the progress. There are many ‘technophobes’ out there who fear the rise of the machines. Those people would prefer to leave their cash and information to themselves and fight change until they have to catch up. They were the people still fought the rise of mobile phones and who were rocking palm pilots when smart phones were rolled out.
In a few years’ time, paying digitally will be a normal as checking your emails on your smart phone, maybe even easier. Even the technophobes will get on board. They’ll have to. Indeed, ‘there are already talks of Google Wallet coming to Australia, and both MasterCard and Visa are expected to develop more payment options through collaborations with companies and developers’ CreditCard.com.au.
Isn’t that what advances in technology is all about? Making life that little bit easier? Let’s not go crazy and assume that we’re all going to end up living on floating devices like the people in Wall-E. This isn’t about laziness, it’s about convenience, and it really would be very convenient. The future is all about making our lives easier.