Forget cashless, I want to go cardless

Forget cashless, I want to go cardless

Apparently ‘cashless’ is soon going to over take cash as the most common way to pay for the first time. But I’d like to go even further. I want to go cardless.

I’m a big fan of cashless. It rare I’ve any physical money on me as I’ll try and pay for everything with my American Express or Santander cashback cards. 

Contactless payments can be annoying – they don’t always work and not all my cards have the tech – but I love that I can tap away quickly and easily most of the time.

Despite cutting out the cash, I’ve still got a rammed wallet. 

It’s not just those two credit cards. Right now I’ve also got (deep breath…) my bank card, NUS card (have a read here to see how anyone get one, even if you’re not a student), driving licence, work pass, Tesco clubcard, Nectar card, MyWaitrose card, Two Together railcard and photo card, Gold railcard, Crystal Palace season ticket, Picturehouse membership, Waitrose and M&S gift cards (free from cashback and other deals), Times+ card, Tastecard and two other giftcards I received as presents. Then there’s the Clubcard and other money off coupons too! There are dozens of other gift vouchers, bank, credit and membership cards (IKEA,  Morrisons etc) that sit at home, hoping I don’t forget them when I need them.

Which is why I’d love a digital wallet.

Apps such as Apple’s Passbook let you hold tickets and airline passes digitally, which is great, but it’s rare I’m also carrying them around.

It’s banking and memberships where it’d make the biggest difference. You can buy certain things with the PayPal app, but it’s a bit fidly and there are so few places it works, you still need all your cards.

Will Apple and Google be able to change all that?

It’s been a few years since Google first started Google Wallet in the States, and Apple launched their version over there last year. So it might not be long before we finally get it over here.

The idea is that you can store all your banking and loyalty cards on your phone. You simply select how you want to pay via an app, tap your phone and enter a pin on the phone. 

Your receipt will be stored digitally, and the app will also recognise loyalty cards and discount vouchers. 

They both use phones with built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) technology embedded – the same system used for contactless payments. Unlike a year ago, the iPhone 6 and other newer phones have this, and the infrastructure is well placed as we’ve already got plenty of contactless pay points.

It won’t be perfect

I can see a few potential problems though. What happens if I lose my phone? Or the battery runs out? And how do I use it to access cash points? 

As well as PayPal, companies and banks such as Worldpay, Barclays and Square are working on systems that all work differently. So I might need one app for this card or shop, another app for that card and that shop, and still not be able to use the apps everywhere.

So I can’t see any time soon that I won’t still need to carry some cards.

Security could be an issue too, but I’m relaxed about that. I already have pins on my banking apps, so another pin won’t make a huge difference. With a virtual wallet, I could simply cancel them online with a few clicks. Plus, more phones are likely to have biometric sensors, which should make it harder for fraudsters to use your handset. 

It’s not risk free, but either is having cards in a wallet, as I discovered when I was pickpocketted in Bueons Aires a few years ago.

What next?

Apple have confirmed they’ll bring Apple Pay to the UK in 2015, and Google have made a step closer by this week allowing Google Wallet payments over Gmail. 

It won’t be smooth sailing but I’m excited… By the end of the year I hope I’ll at least be able to junk some of my cards and lighten up my wallet a little.

Would you go cardless? Or do you still prefer good old cash? Let me know in the comments below.

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