Monday, July 16, 2012

What to Expect in Your Wallet’s Future: Frugality in the New Age

Once upon a time there was something called a wallet, which was used for holding cash, and something else called a phone which was used for conversing with people from far away. 

Technologies are developing at speeds that are no short of jarring, and today wallets and phones are no longer what they used to be.  Now you can use your phone to send email, plan your day, check the stock market, get cutting edge news, and wake you up in the morning amongst many other things.  Wallets too are going digital, and they are no longer going to need to be huge eyesores that men put in their back pocket, they are going right into the phone along with everything else. 

The Giants
I want to tell you about two of the payment processing giants, PayPal and Google, and how they are creeping out of cyberspace and into your wallet.  PayPal and Google have each released their respective versions of the newest concept in offline shopping.  The mobile wallet is a sort of hybrid payment processing concept that allows the consumer to have internet-like capabilities when shopping offline. 

Here are some of the features of the mobile wallet…
  • Security -- The security code makes the mobile wallet more secure than a regular wallet since, even if it is lost or stolen nobody can use it without knowing the code.

  • Convenience -- In many cases it is easier to pay for things using the mobile wallet, often allowing shoppers to skip the check-out counter altogether.

  • Financial Organization -- PayPal actually allows you to change your payment options even weeks after a purchase is made.  For instance, if you purchase something through Mobile PayPal with a visa card and without indicating that you want to pay in installments, you can change your mind later on and pay with a MasterCard with installments. 

  • Price Comparing -- Through a mobile it is now possible to scan a barcode on a product and find out about other stores in the area that offer the same product, including being able to compare prices.

  • Frugality in the New Age -- While the basic concepts of living frugally, like spend less than you earn, will probably never change, frugality strategies will need to develop with the times.  One way of preventing the inevitable difficulties of dealing with a mobile wallet is simply to avoid using that option.  But since there are definite financial advantages to using a mobile wallet let’s consider how best to use a mobile wallet frugally.

    Don’t spend money that you don’t have.  The newest PayPal advertising campaign is “Buy now pay later,” since even PayPal is now offering the option to users to purchase things without processing the order until later.  For anyone that reads this blog, the dangers should be obvious.

  • No Impulse Buying -- The mobile phone is making self-control more and more difficult for consumers since merchants can now send offers to mobile phones in their vicinity.  

  • Bargain Hunting -- Being able to compare prices by scanning bar-codes means that you can always find the best deals.  I just have two things to say about that though. If you find something that you like in one store and it is $5 cheaper in another store across town, considering the cost of time and transportation makes the “cheaper” item more expensive.

Be fair to stores, even though we all want to be more savvy consumers, if somebody helps you to find what you want at a store that is an expense for the store.  If the store is offering the product for a fair price it is arguably unethical to go and buy it somewhere else.

My suggestions and observations are certainly subject to debate, if you have anything to
add to what I said I would love to hear from you in the comments section.

Author’s Bio:
Rachel Walker is a FastUpFront Blog contributor and business consultant. offers an alternative to a small business loan based on future sales.

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