Why I Haven’t Needed a Wallet for 12 Weeks.

The future, future, future…. Photo by Alex Iby

Impossible, right? No BS, I swear.

  • What about when you’re paying for something?
  • Driving?
  • Getting in somewhere?
  • And when they only accept cash?

All valid questions and I think you already know the answer to most of them. The truth is, I haven’t needed a wallet because you don’t need a physical one anymore.

Photo by rawpixel.com

The time has come.

Visa have just released their #CashlessCities study exploring the significant benefits to consumers, businesses, and economies when they move to digital.

There’s a big upside to cities going cashless for companies like Visa with the ‘black economy’ now rolling over into their ledger, but importantly the study outlines the large number of benefits attached to going cashless and the “real cost of cash”. It’s pretty damning.

What country is a DIGITAL LEADER with the most digital payments usage?

And look, you’ve probably noticed it more yourself. When’s the last time you saw someone paying with cash? Or inserting their card and typing a PIN?

It’s all tap-and-go these days with options like Visa PayWave becoming ubiquitous in the Australian retail sector.

Let’s step through the opportunities you think you’d need a wallet for and let’s play that out.

Instances You *Think* You’d Need A Wallet

Nope. In 12 weeks, I’ve been caught out a grand total of ONE time where I’ve needed not a wallet, but cash.

It was a small, family-run cafe that had a $10 minimum for EFTPOS. These places still exist and I found one. They aren’t many left — Australia’s a “Digital Leader”, remember?

But wait. How do I pay for things?

Photo by Jonas Leupe

My phone, every time.

I’ve got a Google Pixel and it’s great. Sure, there are some design issues that iOS wins in and we can begin the iOS walled garden VS Android-expressionism debate but don’t be silly. Perfect design is not why you go for a Google product. What’s Google about? Accessibility.

Making whatever you want more accessible is evident in all of Google’s products (ie. search, email, phones, etc). See the latest update for Pixel 2 with the ‘Buds’ that translate for you in real-time? I KNOW RIGHT.

On my Pixel, I use Android Pay for everything and life couldn’t be more simple. I added my ING Direct Everyday Card and I don’t think there’s been one hiccup.

Ordering coffee? Hold my phone near the terminal — it vibrates — and we’re good to go. Add as many cards as you like and prioritise whichever you want to pay with.

Photo by Rob Bye

I ride a bike so I don’t need a licence on me, really. I don’t ride like a d*ckhead (mostly) so I’m not getting pulled over and there’s no legal age to ride.

I must make a point — riding is awesome.

You should ride. It’s routine exercise twice a day to and from work, it’s quicker than public transport and cars for inner-city transit, there are no parking fees or fines and maintenance is what, $60 every six months?

I just serviced my car I drive less than once a week and it was $1200, plus rego of $800 not to mention the fuel. Tsk tsk.

My face at the mechanics. Photo by Matthew Henry

Besides, we aren’t too far from the day when we look at someone driving a petrol-powered vehicle and think, “What an idiot”. Then comes the day when we look at anyone driving a vehicle and think, “Hey 2017 called, they want their transport back.” Or better yet, the day we look at a human-driven car and realise how dangerous it is compared to a self-driven vehicle.

And when I drive? My licence is in the car. I can’t believe it took 11 years of driving to realise that’s where it should live. Get a proof-of-age card for clubbing or going to the bottle shop (the only places in my mind when you need I.D?).

Public transport is tough. You still need a Myki/Opal for this. I wonder when Myki/Opal will integrate with phones so you don’t need a card and can dynamically add funds to your balance?

NOW THERE’S A BROKEN SYSTEM — Myki officers can charge you on the spot with their mobile terminal, but you can’t top up on the go? Priorities are definitely not aligned there.

Photo by Carlos E. Ramirez

When I need to identify myself? This is the tricky one. I’ve got pictures of my licence on my phone and it works most of the time. I don’t go clubbing anymore so I haven’t tested it out on the most important people in their world (read: bouncers) and my life is a series of moments between staring at my Macbook, so the opportunities (read: diverse, exciting lifestyle situations) aren’t exactly presenting themselves.

Going to the gym? It’s fine. Almost all gyms have a card system and when you don’t have a card, they ask for your surname and let you in. They’ve got your picture on file for reference, too.

Doctor/Dentist/Physio? You kinda know when you’re going to see these people, right? So being able to forecast that is pretty helpful. In an emergency situation, a wallet is really helpful but with the advancements in wearables I’m expecting to be wearing a ring (that I can design) that has all of my vital information on it.

Yes, I would have a chip inserted that holds my info.

Another dog pic because they’re LOYAL AS HELL! Photo by Brandon Day

Collecting reward points like FlyBuys? You kinda need your card for that, hey. There are cards that automatically accrue points but sadly, I don’t own one.

And since now we’re throwing every cent we have into the Hood Food Guide MVP, I’m saving $$$ by doing a weekly shop on Sundays (Flybuys card in hand) and cooking my lunches and eating less avocado on toast because that’s how you save for a future apparently. So I do need my card for this.

But WHY?

Photo by Alessio Lin

Because this is the world I want to live in — a more simple one, a more efficient one, a more accessible one. Yes, a world with more access with less friction.

I want to see if it’s possible to get by without a wallet, what the real limitations are and how to get past them because that’s what we’re building at Hood Food Guide.

We don’t know what it’ll look like yet or what the nuances are, but our minds are in the right place — the problem.

And as a company, the best place to not have our minds?

On your wallet.


Product Manager + Founder. Melb, AUS.