Bulging wallets and purses filled with cash, loyalty cards, debit cards, credit cards and receipts could be a thing of the past very soon.
For those with a smartphone, it’s becoming more and more feasible to leave a bulky wallet or purse at home and still carry everything you need day to day. Here’s why.
It can make payments
Most smartphones now come with Near Field Communication (NFC) technology built-in to make contactless payments, allowing you to pay for everyday items like your tube journey or sandwich without your credit or debit card.
Apple Pay allows iOS users to make payments in store and through apps with just an iPhone, iPad or Apple Watch. You just need to look out for the Apple Pay logo at tills. As well as being convenient, payments are very secure with a fingerprint ID needed to verify a transaction.
Loads of major retailers now accept this as a method of payment and banks are also offering incentives to encourage more to use their devices to pay instead of their cards.
Santander 123 Credit Card users can earn 3% cashback on purchases made using Apple Pay on a spend of up to £100 a month (offer ends 29 February 2016). Meanwhile TSB is offering 5% cashback on the first £100 of Apple Pay or contactless spending until December 2016 to Classic Plus account holders and its TSB MasterCard and Amex credit card holders.
For android users Android Pay and Samsung Pay are expected to land in the UK later in 2016. The system works in a similar way and allows smartphone users to store debit and credit card information digitally which is encrypted and can be protected with a PIN.
In the meantime, there's the PayPal app (free on iOS, Android and Windows Phone) which allows you to make payments online or at participating stores. You just need to link a card to your account, tell the cashier at a participating store you want to pay by PayPal, select the app at the till and login.
It can carry ALL your loyalty cards
With so many loyalty schemes on offer it can be hard to find the space to carry all the cards around at once. But there are a range of apps available on smartphones that can store your cards digitally and keep them all in one place and with you wherever you go.
Beep ‘n go (free Android) allows users to store digital versions of loyalty cards, gift cards and membership cards as well as coupons and boarding passes in one place. You just need to scan and save the details of all your cards to build your online wallet.
Stocard (free Android/ iOS) also lets you store various loyalty card information as well as exclusive offers and coupons digitally for free and is optimized for use in the UK.
Alternatively, there’s Apple Wallet (free iOS). This allows you to store boarding passes, tickets, reward cards and with Apple Pay can integrate credit and debit cards too.
It can withdraw cash
Some can now even withdraw cash with their mobile phone.
NatWest and Royal Bank of Scotland allows customers to take out up to £130 via their banking app without a debit card.
Customers can use the ‘Get Cash’ option on the NatWest/RBS mobile banking app (Android, iPhone and BlackBerry and Windows) and choose the amount they would like to withdraw. The user then gets a secure code valid for three hours that can be used at any NatWest or Tesco cash machine to take out cash up to the daily limit.
Other banks don’t have this feature just yet, but it’s just a matter of time before they all implement an easier way to withdraw cash when you forget your debit card or leave your wallet or purse at home.
It can make I.O.Us simpler
You can even use your mobile phone to settle up I.O.Us.
Paym pronounced ‘pay em’ allows you to send and receive payments to a current account using just your mobile number.
So paying a friend back for a meal or getting back that fiver you lent your brother won’t involve the hassle of giving out your account details or collecting someone else’s.
You just need to link your mobile number with your current account at a participating bank or building society.
It can help you budget
Wallets and purses are just a way to carry around money, but a smartphone can actually help you manage it.
All the major banks and building societies have banking apps which can keep you up to date about your balance and provide alerts when you are running out of cash and some have developed more snazzier ones for those that what more information about spending.
Santander has Spendlytics (free iOS) which can break down your spending habits at a glance on your credit and debit cards. Meanwhile HSBC is trialling an app called Nudge which uses real time data to help customers manage their finances better, sending alerts to inform people about patterns in their expenditure like how much they are spending on coffee.
There are also loads of great personal finance apps that can track your spending, tell you where your money goes and help you create budgets too like Toshl Finance (free Andoird/ iOS/ Windows Phone).