A few months ago I drove an hour and a half from Tampa to Orlando to meet a friend for lunch. When I pulled up to the restaurant I realized I had left my wallet at home. Cash, cards, ID, all of it. With a quarter of a tank of gas and no chance of getting a margarita, I panicked and then grumbled to myself, “Man, I wish I had a virtual wallet on my phone.” Luckily for me, my friend was very generous and our waitress was easy on the ID-checking. And, for those of you who are as absent-minded as me or simply like the security, Lemon, Square and Google all have virtual wallets so you don’t get stuck in a no cash rut.
I covered Lemon last year after it secured $8 million in funding to bring us a stellar virtual wallet app. And, they haven’t failed us. Lemon Wallet lets you store a digital copy of all your cards including IDs, debit, credit, insurance, etc. It now claims to be smarter with features like personalized offers, updated balances and an easier way to communicate with merchants and brands.
It’s pretty simple. Take a pic of your cards and Lemon Wallet will grab all the important info to store on your phone or on their servers (in case you lose your phone, too). That way, you can access your info anytime, anywhere. And Lemon also claims to be safer than your actual wallet with their PIN requirement for all your stored cards. Unfortunately, you cannot make payments through Lemon Wallet just yet, but it’s still a handy app to back-up your important info. Download it for free here.
Our favorite little credit card swiping white square has done it again with Square Wallet. Available for iPhone and Android, it’s like Lemon as it lets you store all of your important wallet content, but this time you can make payments at your fave stores by simply saying your name. How, you might ask? Well, when you’ve enabled Hands-Free checkout on your phone and say your name, your photo and name will pop up at the register to confirm who you are and complete the sale. It may sound s bit complicated, but CNN Tech correspondent Laurie Segall says it’s pretty awesome. Check out her experience here.
Finally, our old friend Google has answered the virtual wallet call with Google Wallet. The new version promises to support all your wallet’s cards to carry on your phone or computer. Google’s software is limited at the moment, but as the technology and integration grows for pay-on-phone apps, Google hopes to be another safe, easy and efficient way to make payments with your smartphone.
So it looks like traditional wallets may be a thing of the past. With one or more of the above wallet apps you will hopefully never have to convince your server you’re over 21 and it’s your birthday, (so you should get a free margarita). Yeah, forgetting your wallet is the pits.