A successful trial of NFC (Near Field Communications) technology has brought mobile wallets closer to New Zealand.
They are already operating in developing countries.
A Rabobank executive who called on our hosts when we were on a farmstay in Holland last month told us Rabo has introduced mobile banking technology in at least two developing African countries.
People can transfer money from their account to another or receive payments via their mobile phones. If they don’t have a bank account, a text message gives them a code which enables them to get money from a cash machine.
This system is only used for relatively small amounts because just like an ordinary wallet, electronic ones can be lost or stolen.
But being able to make transactions through their phones is making a huge difference to the lives and businesses of people who until now might have had to walk for a day or more to get to a bank.
I use credit cards or EFTPOS for bigger purchases but prefer cash for smaller ones. However, I’ve noticed a lot of people, especially younger ones, use cards for even tiny transactions.
Mobile wallets are another step towards a cashless society and one in which the developing world is leading the way.