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What is your wallet?

Over my eight-plus year blogging career, I have embarrassed myself countless times. This time, however, I’m going to do it intentionally.

Back in the 1970s, when I was in high school, I wore a calculator on my belt.

But I have never owned a pocket protector. (Odd, because I have more use for a pocket protector than I do for a calculator.)

I did, however, carry more socially acceptable items on my person when I was in high school. I wore a watch on my arm. I carried keys in my pocket. And I carried a wallet in my other pocket.

I began thinking about wallets recently when I read Loren Feldman’s observations on wallets.

As Feldman notes, times have changed.

Take that watch that I wore on my arm in high school. I still happen to wear a watch, but many people just use their phones (smart or dumb) as their watches. I actually went without a watch for a month or two, but I began wearing a watch again because I had to make a business trip to France and my phone wouldn’t work over there.

Now what about the keys that I carried in my pocket? Those are going away too. Perhaps you have a garage door opener – it might even be embedded in your car. And if you enter your house through your garage, perhaps you don’t even know where your keys are any more. And if you stay in a hotel, you usually don’t have a traditional “key” per se. You usually have a plastic card that you use to enter your hotel room.

But where should you put that plastic “key”? In your wallet? What if you don’t have a wallet? There is less and less of a need for a wallet these days – or at least the item that you traditionally think of as a “wallet.” Google has something that they call a “wallet” that has no leather (real or faux) whatsoever.

Capital One is fonding of asking the question “What’s in your wallet?” In some cases, the things that are on a traditional wallet could just as easily be placed on a smartphone (sorry, no dumb phones allowed in wallet world).

  • As Feldman noted, you don’t have to carry pictures in your wallet any more. You can just bring them up on your smartphone screen, either from internal storage or from an external source.
  • I don’t need to carry money around for my Starbucks addiction any more. There’s an app for that.
  • And if you argue that your government-issued ID card is a physical item that can’t be placed on a smartphone, check out what the United Arab Emirates is proposing to do.

In short, it’s possible that the wallet that we carry around today may go the way of the 8 track tape.

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