How I survived a week without my wallet

Digital Banking


Credit Union SA

Member Experience Team

12 Feb 2020

| Digital Banking

A few weeks back I went out for dinner with some friends and when the bill was dropped at our table, I dug through the abyss of my handbag to find my wallet, only to remember I’d left it at home. Immediately, I thought ‘oh no. I’m going to have to ask my friends to cover me’ until I realised, I had another option. In fact, I had three!

  1. Option one – I pay with my phone.
  2. Option two – I transfer money almost instantly to my friends using my banking app.
  3. Option three – I order an Uber and make a quick escape.

Ok, maybe not the third option. But still, this experience got me thinking about my wallet and how perhaps I no longer need it. So, I decided to do a little experiment and pay for everything using only my smart phone for an entire week ­– leaving my wallet at home.

Here’s what happened…


Payment apps

Thanks to digital payment apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay™, I was able to buy things using my phone basically anywhere contactless payments were offered. So, throughout the week I used Apple Pay to buy afternoon snacks, fuel and much more. It was so easy to use, all I had to do was load my debit card onto my iPhone’s Wallet app (for the initial set up), then anytime I wanted to make a purchase, I’d just open the app using my Touch ID and wave it over the payment terminal - and it actually felt much safer than using my physical card.


I must admit that before this experiment I was already quite fond of Uber Eats. But I’d never thought about how it had eliminated the need for my wallet much like digital payment apps. So of course, I had to order lemon chicken and fried rice for experimental purposes! I also used a Click and Collect service to do my weekly grocery shop which saved me from pushing around a lop-sided trolley for an hour.


I ordered my morning lattes through the CIBO app, allowing me to not only pay digitally, but skip the line completely. And to top it off, I registered my loyalty card in the app, meaning I didn’t miss out on collecting MyCIBO points. Could this be the future for all businesses? I sure hope so.


I used the Adelaide City Council parking app to pay for my parking spots throughout the week. Not only could I see available parking spaces around the city using the app, but I could also remotely ‘top up’ my parking session, which meant I didn’t have to rush back to a meter to put more money in. #TheFutureIsNow

Getting around

Can you believe I zipped around Adelaide on an e-Scooter? Not for enjoyment really, but because I was running late for an appointment – although, fun was had in the process. I paid for it using the RIDE app, again not needing my wallet.

Unexpected bonus - extra security

I met with friends at a crowded bar and normally I would’ve become a little more conscious of my handbag around so many people. But this time I didn’t because I only had my phone with me. I felt like even if I accidently left my phone at the bar or someone snatched it from me, they wouldn’t be able to access any of my information including my Apple Pay details – thanks to Touch ID. Whereas, if someone got a hold of my wallet, they could start using my cards straight away, plus discover what I look like and where I live - by looking at my driver’s licence.

Pain points

My wallet-free week was possible, but it wasn’t all plain sailing.


Although I felt more secure taking only my phone to the bar with me, it caused one issue — I didn’t have my driver’s licence. So, when I went to buy a glass of Pinot Gris, I was kindly asked to show my ID, and although I was flattered, I was also slightly disappointed because I didn’t have it on me. Soda and lime, it was!

Later I found out that I could’ve downloaded the mySA GOV app and accessed my driver’s licence on there. However, mySA GOV still recommend you keep your physical card with you as some businesses are not set up to validate digital licences.

Public Transport

I decided to catch the bus home from my after-work outing. Not having caught the bus in years, I happily jumped on and pulled out my phone to pay, but it was not to be. And before I could ask whether they had an app, the bus driver politely said, “you’ll need to pay with cash, love”. I nearly fell over in shock. I had to jump off and order an Uber instead.

But this wasn’t really an issue with digital payments per se, because even if I had my wallet on me, I still wouldn’t have been able to pay for the bus trip as I never ever have cash in my wallet.

Battery life

I didn’t run out of phone battery, but the anxiety was definitely there. Thoughts of ‘what if I run out of battery and I can’t pay for anything’ ran through my mind at times. I just had to make a real effort to put my phone on charge whenever I could.


I would say that a 100% wallet-free life is feasible, if you don’t need an ID to prove your age or you don’t catch public transport in Adelaide.

I know I’ll definitely be reaching for my phone rather than my wallet from now on – partly for convenience’s sake, and partly for the privacy and security benefits (oh and partly because I want to look like a tech whiz).

This is general advice only and doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions, fees and lending criteria apply and are available on request.

Android, Google Pay, and the Google Logo are trademarks of Google LLC. Apple, the Apple logo, Apple Pay, Apple Watch, Face ID, iPad, iPhone, iTunes, Mac, Safari, and Touch ID are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. iPad Pro is a trademark of Apple Inc. Samsung Pay is a trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Fitbit and the Fitbit logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fitbit, Inc. in the U.S. and other countries. Garmin Pay is a trademark of Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries.

The target market for this product can be found within the product’s Target Market Determination (TMD), available at creditunionsa.com.au/tmd

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