Virtual Wallets are not Wallets

Posted by WalletBe on Aug 24th 2023

What is a mobile wallet

Generally, when you think of a mobile wallet,  you think of one that’s not 4 feet long, as in, it possesses a certain amount of mobility. Mobile wallets are unfortunately not the exciting counterpart to giant wallets, they’re little apps on your phone that keep your money for you and allow you to pay on certain debit and credit terminals. There are a lot of mobile payment options available now such as the Starbucks reward card that allows you to use an app to pay for your food and drink after it’s given access to a fixed amount of money. There’s also Samsung and Apple that offer phones with the ability to communicate through Bluetooth to the previously mentioned payment terminals. You might ask what kind of effect will this have on wallet trends, sales, and styles. The answer: there won’t be a huge difference.


In 2012, Apple released passbook which is a mobile wallet, or gift card, with tickets and coupons that allows a company to suddenly forge this sort of relationship with a consumer that will be fostered through a device that is literally always at hand. The idea is to get rid of those pesky space eaters like gift cards and the free appetizer coupon you’ve been holding onto that actually expired two months ago. With the Passbook addition, companies could then push notifications and coupons onto your phone based off of the data they had collected through that phone, and it relies on location. If Hollister, for example, tracks you in a mall where it has a store open, it can offer deals and savings to encourage you to enter the store. It’s a new take on the automated marketing programs you can invest in through programs like Hubspot. It’s studying consumer data. or in this case, your data: clicks, likes, places you frequent, etc and narrowing down what you want to see so they can trigger a response in you. Granted, if you get annoyed by the call to actions that this company is sending you, you can turn them off, but that’s not before they’ve seen reams or your personal data.

The Potential Consequences

If you’ve read George Orwell’s 1989, you should be thoroughly creeped out by this. If it’s not corporations you’re worried will know everything about you, then take the origins of RFID wallets for example. They surfaced very quickly after the chip became the standard form of payment for most visas and credit cards. That’s due to how quickly hackers figured out how to steal your information through the layers of your coat, your pocket, and all the way through your leather wallet. If you apply this logic to a mobile wallet, it begs the question of how secure your information is really going to be. Tech security is a huge part of our culture. Computers and servers get hacked all of the time, to the point that security companies are constantly waging a war to keep up with them. At every turn, you’re potentially reading false information from Russian bots hacking the Facebook comments sections, or getting your email hacked like Yahoo’s servers getting obliterated just a couple of years ago, maybe getting your webcam on your laptop peeked through. There are even games like Android Net Runner that imitate this battle between hackers and everyone else. This prompts the question: do you feel comfortable with all of your banking information tied to a direct line through a corruptible and easily damageable device sitting idly in your pocket?

The Reality

People are wondering if this mobile wallet is going to put businesses like WalletBe out of work. They’re pondering if suddenly, just because you can use this unsafe, non-physical method of payment, wallets will become obsolete overnight. In response, we’d offer that it’s easy to see new technologies surfacing and jump to conclusions. It happened when e-readers came out; people started to believe that paper would disappear and there’d no longer be a reason to learn to handwriting in school, only typing. It’s the same idea as Ebay having the ability to cripple the antique market. These proposed end results are highly unlikely. Many people still prefer paper books because they like the way it smells, the way the pages feel. Others enjoy searching for that one antique, or piece of furniture that’s exactly like their grandmothers, or it holds some sort of historical influence that’s important to them. Without a physical wallet the use of cash will most likely go extinct, but that would happen long after the transfer over to mobile wallets became complete. This is where this matter of convenience will become a sudden inconvenience, as if coin currencies aren't enough of a hassle, they’ll be worse having no other place than the bottom of your purse or pocket to roll around. As innovations in convenience come around every corner and smartphones and tablets push to replace everything, we must remember that human beings do not live in a matrix, we are physical and some things like money and paying should remain a physical transaction so that it still holds the importance it always has.

WalletBe is confident that, while wallets are getting slimmer, that does not mean your new wallet is not going to be trending as of next year. Most stores still don’t have pay terminals equipped to take that sort of payment yet.

If you’d like to browse some real, quality wallets, feel free to check out our selection. We offer a variety of slim, space-saving wallets, as well as men’s and women’s RFID protected wallets and phone cases. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us!