Spring cleaning: Going digital with your wallet
The days of carrying around countless cards and pieces of paper in a less-than-secure wallet are numbered. Go digital with your wallet.
It's true, mobile payments aren't mainstream quite yet, but that shouldn't stop you from going digital with your wallet. Over the course of the last year how many times have you accidentally forgotten your wallet? How about your smartphone? I'm willing to bet your wallet is far more neglected, and for good reason.
When you combine insurance cards, rewards cards, credit cards, debit cards and some form of ID -- wallets become heavy, thick, and downright annoying to deal with.
Continuing with our theme of spring cleaning, let's take a look at how to convert your boring, analog wallet into an interactive (and at times impressive) digital solution.
Let's start with the elephant in the room: mobile payments. The expectation surrounding the idea of digitizing a wallet is the the ability to pay with a smartphone. A reasonable expectation on all accounts.
Services such as ISIS and Google Wallet allow certain devices to be scanned via NFC at a slim list of vendors to transact a payment. The combination of requiring a limited list of devices along with an even more limited list of vendors is a frustrating pain point for the mobile payment industry as a whole. There's nothing wrong with using either system (ISIS or Wallet) if you own the right device and find yourself at a participating retailer, but odds are you won't be happy with the overall experience.
For a more robust and sometimes magical experience, check out a solution from a company called Loop. By purchasing a small fob from the company, you're able to swipe, transfer and store your card information into a secure app directly on your device. Not only does the fob act as a card reader, it also doubles as a payment solution which Loop claims is compatible with 90 percent of current credit card readers. Meaning, you don't have to consult a map of vendors that accept Loop; you simply walk in, hold it up to the credit card machine and press a button. Here, watch this video to get a better idea of how it works.
In addition to being able to pay with the Loop Fob or ChargeCase, you can also store cards of all types within the app; essentially replacing your wallet.
The Fob is available now and retails for $39. An iPhone case (that doubles as a battery case) being released in Q2 for $99. The Fob is better suited for Android users (the Android version of the app is in beta, with planned release for Q2), while iOS users can use either the Fob or the ChargeCase.
LifeLock Wallet App
The name isn't all that familiar, but the app likely is. LifeLock purchased the Lemon Wallet App late in 2013 and promptly relaunched the app with a new name.
Names aside, LifeLock is a free app to help you maintain a digital wallet. You're able to scan credit cards, debit cards, rewards cards, membership cards -- you get the point. Going even further than simply letting you store payment information in the app, you can also track your account balances and spending. Try doing that with your current wallet.
Naturally, there are prompts to sign up for LifeLock's identity-protection service, but you can just ignore them. The wallet portion of the app remains free.
Download the LifeLock Wallet App for iOS or Android.
Receipts are a necessary evil at times, including during business trips and the holidays. Personally, I despise having to carry around a piece of paper to prove I purchased something, but I digress.
Instead of managing a pile of paper, scan your receipts and store them digitally. One of the apps I use to scan receipts isn't meant for personal use so much as it's meant for business users. The service is called Expensify. Using an iOS or Android device you can snap a photo of a receipt and save it to the app, where it will then covert it into a digital copy for you.
Both free and paid account options exist, each offering a varying number of scans and features respectively.
I'm sure you guys have some tips for going digital with your wallet. Let's hear 'em in the comments below!
Editors' note: It's spring cleaning time! Week's four's theme: digitizing your life. Check back every day this week to see how best to bring your stuff into the digital age. And be sure to return next week for more spring cleaning tips and tricks.