Could your smartphone replace your wallet?

That forgotten wallet or purse doesn’t have to ruin everything. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can pay your way.
Could your smartphone replace your wallet?

Do you think you’d be able to do without your wallet or purse completely, and use your trusty smartphone to get through the day?

Let’s imagine that you’ve left your wallet or purse at home, and you’re already well on your way to work. As long as you’ve got your phone, you can get through the day – and night.

The morning commute

If you’re a Londoner, then TFL (Transport for London) now accepts several smartphone payment systems on their tubes, trains and buses, including Apple Pay and EE’s Cash on Tap. If you’ve got one of them installed on your phone, tap it on the ticket reader and let the journey begin.

A quick coffee stop

If you’ve got the Starbucks app (available for iOS and Android) on your phone, you can use it to pay for your usual hit of caffeine before you head into work. Even if you’re low on credit, you’ll be able to do a top-up via the app if you’ve previously entered your bank account details.

Lunchtime shopping

Okay, so you’ve made it through to lunchtime. Time to get something to eat and do a spot of shopping, perhaps?

This is where you need one of the big three mobile payment systems: PayPal, Android Pay or Apple Pay. If you’ve got any one of these on your phone, you’re in luck. Most of the major high street chains will be happy to exchange their goods in return for the sight of you waving your phone in their general direction.

And if you use the Mobile Pocket app (iOS, Android and Windows Phone) to keep details of all your store and loyalty cards, even better – you won’t miss out on any precious points.

Eat, drink and be merry

You’ve left work, and you’re feeling fine. Sure, you could go straight back home and get reacquainted with your beloved wallet or purse, but there’s really no need. You’ve got a smartphone, the night is young and you want to treat yourself to a nice meal…

Zapper (iOS, Android or Windows Phone) has been adopted by a number of UK restaurants (including CAU Steakhouse, Burger & Lobster and Granger & Co). If you’ve got the app installed on your phone, you’ll be able to pay for your meal by scanning the QR code when you get the bill. You don’t even have to call the waiter back to your table to confirm the payment, which could be a good move if you’ve left them a particularly stingy tip.


While you’re in the restaurant settling up your bill, we expect that you’ll have gone into your Uber app (iOS, Android or Windows Phone) and organised a taxi home.

With Uber, you can search for a taxi near you, agree a price, and have it pick you up in a matter of minutes. And when you reach your destination, payment is made automatically.

Phones 4 Cash

And that’s it! You’re back home safe and sound, and you got through the day without your wallet, purse or cash.

Talking of cash – yes, you could have got some from an ATM using just your smartphone. If you’ve got the NatWest Banking app, for example, the ‘Get Cash’ option sends an ATM code to your phone, letting you withdraw up to £250 a day.

How often do you use your phone to pay for things? How long could you last without your wallet or purse? Do you have any mobile payment tips of your own? Share your thoughts below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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