Mobile wallets already in developing countries

July 15, 2012

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.


How much cash, how many cards?

September 24, 2008

Zentiger at NZ Conservative notes people using EFTPOS to pay tiny amounts and wonders how much cash people carry.

I was doing a door to door collection for Plunket a couple of years ago and one very apologetic woman, whom I knew, said she had absolutely no cash in the house.

This surprised me because I have a money box on the laundry window sill for the coins which end up in the wahsing machine, and another in the bedroom for those which fall on the floor. So even when my wallet is cashless I have change in the house and I always have some coins and maybe a small note in the car for emergencies.

But the need for cash certainly isn’t as great as it was before we had EFTPOS and hole-in-the-wall banking. Way back then you had to get your money from banks and they closed at 3pm on Friday and didn’t open until 10am on Monday.

As the amount of cash people have on hand has fallen the number of cards we carry has risen.

This came up in discussion with friends recently so we all did a count – the winner had 32 cards in his wallet including EFTPOS, credit, swipe, membership and loyalty cards and all but a couple were current and, he said, necessary.

No doubt there are security and privacy issues, but it would be much easier if we could programme one card with all the information we needed.

Either that, or just put a bar code on our foreheads 🙂


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