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Good Question: Will We Ever Be Wallet Free?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Owners of the iPhone 6 registered more than 1 million credit cards on Apple Pay in the first three days the service was offered.

The app lets people pay for goods with their phone. In theory, when enough stores sign up, you won't have to carry a credit card.

For many people, cash has already been replaced by credit. So will we ever be wallet free? We talked with Akshay Rao, a marketing professor at the University of Minnesota.

"When you say cash is trash, it's another way of saying 'Use other means of payment because they're more efficient, they're more productive,'" Rao said.

He says the method we use benefits someone's bottom line, whether it's cash, credit or check.

"I can't remember the last time anybody paid cash at a restaurant when buying a meal," Rao said. "So think of it as an advancement from cash to checks to credit cards and now to electronic devices that allow you to pay directly."

So will carrying a wallet be obsolete? Professor Rao says it could be, over time. The wallet is essentially a piece of technology that allows you to carry stuff around. And if your phone can do that, why carry both?

"What's more interesting to me as an academic is who is going to do what quicker than the other? I think there's going to be a gender difference," Rao said.

He thinks women will be slower to go digital because they like carrying purses. And younger generations will be first to adopt new ways to pay because they're already comfortable using the phone for more than a conversation.

Apple Pay works with the six largest credit card companies and can be used so far at more than 200,000 storefronts in the U.S. There are some retailers refusing to use it.

Another difference from credit cards is that the app only works with the user's fingerprint.


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