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Study Finds Consumers Ready to Leave Behind Wallets

[Thursday, June 27th, 2013]

No one wants to carry wallets anymore, it seems. A recent study found that 83% of respondents indicated that they wished they never had to carry a wallet. The two places people hate toting a wallet the most? The beach and the gym.

PayPal asked people in the United States, Canada, Australia, England and Germany their feelings on wallets, credit cards, cash and smartphones. One thousand people answered the survey and sentiments varied from country to country—but most agreed they are ready to move forward to a cashless society. Even credit cards are seen as a burden; an increasing number of people prefer to upload their credit card information into a mobile wallet app and use their phone to pay for purchases when possible.

Top places cited as least popular wallet-dragging locations, in addition to the beach and the gym, were concerts, bars, sports events, Laundromats, grocery stores and restaurants—basically, anywhere people go besides school and work.

Ninety percent of German respondents said they hate carrying a wallet. Eighty-seven percent of Canadians, 86% or Americans, 80% of Australians and 76% of British respondents felt the same. Even though Britons had the lowest percentage of people who said they prefer to leave their wallet at home, they were the most eager to begin using smartphones in place of wallets. Thirty-two percent of them said bring on the smartphones.

Caught without cash

The problem with leaving your wallet behind when you go out with friends, of course, is that you might not be able to pay up when it’s time to tally up the bill. Then your friends are left to cover your share; a move that won’t win you any popularity contests. Canadians were the most likely to say they have been caught without any cash; 75% reported having this happen to them. Sixty-eight percent of Americans said they’d accidentally found themselves without funds when out and about, and 30% said it happens all the time. Fifty-seven percent of Australians and 54% of Americans have been on the other end and had to cover a friend’s tab when that person forgot to bring a wallet on an outing.

The end of wallets will not mean the end of credit cards; they may simply become virtual. Credit card account information that lives on a smartphone could replace plastic cards over the next several years. The question at that point will become, when will people tire of carrying phones?

This PayPal survey was conducted between April 26th and May 13, 2013 and included responses from 1,000 adults ages 21 and up, from five different countries.

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