By Tuesday morning I had already lost count of how many tech vendors on the BIG Show EXPO Hall floor had told me that my smartphone would soon become my “mobile wallet.” It’s just a matter of time, they’d say, until all you need to carry with you when you leave the house is your mobile phone.
Really? That’s all I’ll need to carry? Call me old-fashioned, but I still carry my license whenever I drive — and most of the time, when I leave the house, I get in a car. Someone told me that I’ll be able to scan my license — front and back — onto my phone, but I hardly think that’s going to fly with Officer Sternface if I were to get pulled over. I can envision it now: He says, “License and registration, ma’am.” I hand him the phone and tell him, “Go to Apps and click on Driver’s License”?
The idea of not having to carry cash or credit cards around is very appealing to me. I’m told I’ll be able to access various forms of payment from my phone; I may even be able to “tap and go” if the retailer has the latest technology at POS. Still, I’m one of those people who pays for certain items on particular credit cards, which suggests there will need to be an interim step in the payment process: Locate the payments wallet on my smartphone, choose the card I want to use and — presumably — enter a password. Is this really going to be faster than swiping and signing?
Having my reward/loyalty cards on my phone is something I look forward to. The thing is — I have a whole lot of rewards cards. Again, I’ll have to locate the rewards app, and then find the account for the retail store I’m shopping. I’m getting better at using my smartphone, but clearly this will not be a swift maneuver. In fact, I’m willing to bet that if there is a 20-something behind me in line, she’ll probably want to yank the phone out of my hands and find the loyalty card for me — that’s what my kids do, anyway, when they see me painstakingly trying to send a text message.
(Also, a note to CVS: When I get the hang of this mobile-rewards-on-my-smartphone thing, your bottom line may suffer if it actually becomes easier for me to cash in my Extra Bucks.)
I’m on board with the idea of the mobile wallet; being able to pay using my phone and access reward programs without having to tote around a key ring full of tags clearly is appealing. But I’m having a hard time with the idea that my smartphone is all I need to carry. I need tech support to find the SD card slot; how am I supposed to figure out where the tissues and lipstick go?