by Stuart Ridgway, Original Music for Film and Television

iPhone Wallet
iPhone Wallet

I have been SO excited to write this article for a long time and now the time has come!  Yes, come on.   Dump your wallet.  Live out of your phone!


The digital revolution has not yet been fully realized in my jacket pocket but we’re soooooo close that it’s worth getting started now. Those of you familiar with change management know that it’s not really about the technology – that’s pretty much here, thank you iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6. It’s really about changing the way I do things day to day because that’s where things get really interesting.

The first part of this series covers my decision process – how I account for all the stuff I used to carry around in my wallet (stuffed in my pocket).  The second part walks through my own change management for adjusting to this change.

Note:  for those of you who carry a purse, you may find some of these suggestions unnecessary.  However, if you don’t regularly carry a purse (most men or women with clutches?) I guarantee there are lots of ideas in here for you.

Why Would I Want to Dump My Wallet?

Numero uno:  the last thing I want to do is pack a lumpy wallet into my pocket along with my keys and phone.  Especially come summer.  It’s much nicer to grab one thing and go.

Numero dos:  just because a lot of the world still wants you to use paper, doesn’t mean you have to.  Dump the zillion loyalty cards, and credit cards, and cash, and receipts.  It’s 2015, my friends.  Cash is no longer king.

My goal therefore is to get rid of my wallet for day-to-day life and leave it in my briefcase for “emergencies.”

When NFC started to become a real reality (more later) I made the plunge and bought a SLIMbook Leather iPhone Case & Wallet.  Hey, you can’t go and make a big lifestyle change without some new cool gizmo and this is it.  It keeps my phone well protected and it allows space for four very slim cards.  That’s it.  If it doesn’t fit, I don’t need it.

What Stays

This is the second hardest part of making the switch.  What shall I put in my iPhone wallet when I only have four “slots” to fill?  Here’s what I ended up with:
  1. Drivers license:  I didn’t even try to put my license aside and I’m glad I didn’t.  I can’t tell you how many times I needed it last minute and thankfully I always have it.
  2. Family credit card:  This is a big leap.  You have to be able to live in a credit-card-only world. Fortunately with the rapid spread of Square and NFC payments, even the most humble vendor will take your Visa.  Keep in mind, though, that you no longer have the ability to give cash tips or hit a vending machine.
  3. Business credit card:  Ditto.
  4. $20 bill:  This helped assuage any lingering doubts I had about this gambit.  I’m quite reluctant to use the $20 because I have no place for the $11.70 that I might get back in change.  Nevertheless, Once every seven weeks it comes in handy.

What Goes

But more important than what stays is what goes:  health insurance card, bank cards, loyalty cards, metro card, or extra key to the house.  Each card that didn’t make the cut needed some sort of digital replacement with accompanying lifestyle change (that I was not yet aware of).  On the technical side I took some simple steps that really streamline my life in general.

First, I took a snapshot of my insurance card, front and back, and put them in Evernote.  I have Evernote on my phone, but more importantly, when I need to read the teeny-tiny print on the back of the card, I just zoom in and I can actually read it.  There’s a real improvement.  Plus one for living out of my phone.

Second, I had to make the choice to use the apps that my banks provide.  For example, when I have to deposit a check, I use their app to take a snapshot and deposit it.  When I need cash, I…well…I either remember to grab my ATM card from my wallet before I go to the ATM or I don’t use cash.  What’s tripped me up the most is going by the ATM only to remember that I don’t have my card on me.  Dohwell.

Third, I captured all of my loyalty cards in my Quomai app.  Where the friction lies is with the stores that can’t scan the bar code on my phone very well.  They’re getting better, but it’s not always easy.  Strike one for living out of my phone.  With Apple’s improvements to Passport, it may work much better.  We’ll see.  ‘nother article.

Finally, the metro card and the extra key need extra attention.  My metro card now lives in my briefcase next to my wallet and I pull it out when I commute.  The house key is hidden.  In a very secret place.  Shh.  The point here is that change management requires alteration in how I do my day to day.  I always have my briefcase when I commute, so pulling out my metro card while I’m walking down the escalator is a reasonable workaround.

Realize, of course, that none of this is set in stone.  In fact, I had tried to put my metro card in the phone wallet.  But the metro turnstile barfed on my card 50% of the time – I think the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi interfered too much.  Strike two for living out of my phone.  But I can honestly say I made the change and never looked back.  When Metro puts the new smartphone readers on their turnstiles (I have seen them in beta!) my escalator rides will of course improve.  Plus two TBD.

In part 2 of this series I cover several alterations in my daily life I had to make to make this change work for me.  I share my steps so you can take advantage of them.

Gripe and Punishment

Gripe:  Loud mobile phone talkers in public places – this is a riff on last month’s Gripe.

Punishment:  If you hear me just yammering away because my conversation is so damned important, block me in so I can’t leave, and crack your knuckles.  Better yet, crack your jaw.  Bleh!

Just to be clear:  Have a little respect for the people around you and keep your conversation within your own circle.


Stuart Ridgway composes original music for film and television.  You can find out more about his music and the Emmy Award winning television shows he works on at Pyramid Digital Productions, Inc.

One thought on “Go Ahead! Dump Your Wallet and Live Out of Your Phone – Part 1

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s