A Dose of Reality For Your Wallet: The Future Of Cell Phones

April 4, 2011

Have you had that moment when you realize how truly attached you are to your cell phone? I had mine this weekend. Armed with my new smartphone, a group of us spent an afternoon outside laughing at mobile photos, checking in, creating a GroupMe account and tweeting. Our happy hour revolved around our cell phones. Don’t get me wrong, we were interacting with each other, but technology was heavily a part of our riveting conversation.

This may be because I’m still in the honeymoon phase, but my phone becomes more convenient and fun with each app that I download. I have to admit that my first mission is to scan a QR code (I have my eyes set on the Chino Latino billboard referenced by George in an earlier Peepshow post).

But my realization led me to the growing question of whether I would be willing to replace my wallet with my cell phone. It may not be far-fetched. Mobile phone and online companies are coming closer to making the payment plan a reality with the Near-Field Communication (NFC) mobile payment market. Although relatively unused in the United States, other countries have adopted card-free payment; it’s just a swipe of your cell.

Mobile payments first became a blip on my radar in class, talking about the future of cell phone technology. Initially, I was opposed to the idea of having my cell phone act as my credit card, seemingly an invitation for someone to steal my personal information.

However, as the exchange of money has evolved, I’m starting to feel excited about the possibility of integrating my wallet and phone. I use my card online for shopping, banking and bill pay, as well as buying plane and concert tickets. My life is more convenient and involves much less paper. For those worried about keeping personal information safe, like I was, even in-person credit card security isn’t bullet-proof. When’s the last time you’ve had your signed receipt compared to your credit card signature?

It may be too early in the development to really know how you’ll adopt the technology, but it’s something to spark a reflection about the integration of cell phones in our daily lives and raise questions about how secure people will feel using their phones for payment. In the end, I’m more likely to forget my wallet at home than my cell, which may not be a problem when I can pay for my morning coffee with a swipe of my smartphone. How convenient.

What about you? Would you replace your wallet with your cell phone?