How plausible is daily life with a digital wallet?

Is life with just a digital wallet possible?

For the last few years, there has been talk of the impact of the digital wallet. With the popularity of the smartphone growing, the ability to make payments at various establishments straight from the device is a feature that consumers and businesses have been looking into. Companies like Google, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard are all looking to stand on top of the mobile commerce market.

But how plausible is it now? While there are some companies like Starbucks that already have mobile checkout systems at the POS terminal, how far can you make it without a wallet? That is something that Steven Bertoni researched in an experiment with Forbes.

For one day, he left the wallet at home and only paid with his smartphone through various apps. Because the Metro does not accept smartphones yet, getting around New York City meant using the Uber car service. Breakfast happened at Starbucks, but things got more complicated with the other meals.

The PayPal App allows users to search for local businesses that accept this kind of mobile commerce, see any special deals and even order ahead. Bertoni found a sandwich place near the Forbes' office that was offering a free lunch (sandwich, cookie, chips and drink) just for using the App, as way to increase adoption.

After work drinks were also done at a business that used PayPal. Once Bertoni told the server how he would pay, the App generated a four digit code for the bartender to enter in the POS system and he was able to see his bill in real-time. PayPal even bought a round as a thank you for using the app. He was able to pay the bill from his phone without needing to flag down the bartender.

In the end, while the perks are impressive, not enough businesses are using mobile commerce yet for it to be a viable option for every purchase. However, is this a POS option that your company is considering?

by Ty Hardison

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