I Really Want My Phone to Be My Wallet. Don’t You?

Wallets suck. Seriously. Mine hurts my butt when I sit down. I have to remember to take it with me, and then I’m always afraid of losing it. There’s nothing fun about it. And…well…it’s dirty. It really is—money is dirty, and the cards you hand to people with dirty hands that handle dirty cards all day are dirty. Can we please just use our mobiles as wallets?

There are a few technologies that are supposed to eliminate the wallet, but no matter how hard I try, I still need to carry one. More on that in a bit.

What’s in the works:

  • Isis is a mobile payment network comprised of the major mobile networks. It’s supposed to launch nationwide and there have been a bunch of pilot tests, but no official launch just yet.
  • Square is an app that accepts credit cards and allows you to pay with them in stores that accept Square-facilitated transactions.
  • Apple has the Passbook app, which stores your cards and works with an iPhone. It should have taken off, but it does squat.
  • Google Wallet is an app that has relationships with credit card companies and banks and uses near-field communications. It allows you to make payments, but only if you have an NFC-enabled phone—which is usually an Android—and the point of sale needs to be able to read it.
  • Starbucks is really the only company that has used its mobile app to accept payments, and it’s wildly successful. There’s no reason to even walk into a Starbucks with a wallet again.

So other than moving into Starbucks, I’ve found a temporary compromise.

  • Thinned out my wallet: This means I got a thinner wallet, too. I picked up a three-buck one from one of those sidewalk tables in New York City. For the rest of the world, you can find them all over eBay.
  • Keyring: This is an app available for iPhones and Androids that allows me to easily snap a photo of the front and back of my 50+ loyalty cards and use most of them at a retail counter. (Except Costco, which is stupid. Do you hear me, Costco?)
  • Hotspot Shield VPN: This is a virtual private network application installed on my mobile to protect my wireless traffic. So instead of having to remember my wallet and then putting my wallet into my pocket—which hurts—and worrying about losing it, I just use my mobile to make purchases online and have most everything shipped. Except, of course, at Costco.

Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures. For Roberts FREE ebook text- SECURE Your@emailaddress -to 411247.