Could Your Phone Become Your Wallet?

Stuffed Wallet

You can do a lot with your money on a smartphone, from checking balances to calculating tips. Soon you’ll be able to go shopping.

In theory.

Thus far, the so-called mobile wallet is making more headlines than transactions. A recent study found only 12% of Americans would shop using a phone.

But if you’re going to take charge of your money, you need to know what’s coming next.

First up is Google Wallet—a harbinger of many mobile payment options to come.

It relies on Near Field Communication technology: a chip in your phone that talks to another chip at the cash register. When you tap the terminal, money goes from your account to the store’s.

For now, Google Wallet only links to Citi MasterCards and Google Prepaid Cards. But you can store gift cards, digital coupons, and loyalty points that are redeemed instantly when you pay.

Naturally, few phones (or stores) work with Google Wallet right now. Your phone must be running Android OS, with an NFC chip embedded. But everyone from Apple to Visa has plans to get into the game.

Could your phone replace your wallet? Maybe. But we have yet to see any app that would make a woman give up her purse.

Tap, tap. Has technology changed the way you spend money?

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