I still remember the incredulous gasps that spread across the room during one of CNA Lifestye’s meetings as a group of over-40-year-olds looked at me, bewildered. The team members were discussing the best wallets out there and when it was my turn to speak, I simply told the truth:
“Oh, I haven’t used a wallet for, like, 10 years. I just bring my phone when I’m out.”
You would have thought I just told my teammates that I performed at Crazy Horse Paris, judging by the reactions I got. Within seconds, our meeting took a detour as we launched into another Gen X versus Millenials debate.
Now to be fair, I don’t think my not using a wallet is a millennial thing; it’s simply a me thing. I know plenty of friends my age who still use a wallet and more power to them.
On the other hand, I can make do with just my phone and credit card. In fact, I don’t even have physical cash on me when I’m out. Apparently, this nugget of information is inconceivable to most of my colleagues, which is why I’m writing this article.
BENEFITS OF GOING WALLETLESS
Take out your wallet now and ask yourself when was the last time you really needed to use your physical IC.
And for those of you saying that you need your IC to purchase alcohol and watch certain movies, let me pose another question to you: “Doesn’t our digital IC (which can be accessed anytime and anywhere) serve the same function as our physical IC (which can cost up to S$300 for a replacement)?”
Of course, there will be instances where you’ll need a physical IC (like at the bank or sending official documents). However, in those cases, it is still safer to solely bring your IC as opposed to bringing your entire wallet.
Now let’s take a look at your cash and coins.
You’re probably saying: “I can use them at the hawker centre.”
And you’re right. Although we have the highest adoption rate of cashless payments in Southeast Asia, a number of places here are cash-only. Personally, I don’t blame them. They still need to serve older folks who are less inclined to adopt a cashless lifestyle.
But do we really need that much physical cash on us?
I personally believe that there are more benefits to having my money in my bank account, rather than out of it. You get to accrue interest and your money is safe for the most part. Sure, e-scams are on the rise but at least most banks are willing to help you if you fall victim to such cyber attacks.
Try finding a bank that will reimburse you S$400 which you lost in physical cash.
Besides, it makes way more financial sense to pay S$8.80 via PayLah at Gong Cha than to pay with a S$10 note and get a change of S$1.20. That change is practically money gone because after all, what can you really buy with S$1.20 these days?
Finally, look at all the mementos you’ve tucked in the various crevices of your wallet. Those ticket stubs, photos and love notes are irreplaceable in every sense of the word. What do you plan to do if your wallet goes missing and those mementos become distant memories?
IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO HOW MUCH YOU’RE WILLING TO RISK
Of course, I’m cognisant of the fact that my phone and credit card are still susceptible to being stolen. However, it is way easier to replace two items than it is to replace the treasure trove of valuables kept in a wallet.
Ultimately, it is your choice to ditch your wallet or not but I will say that my life has been easier the past 10 years. My pockets are lighter now; I only have to keep an eye on my phone when I’m out and I never have to worry about losing precious keepsakes.