Sign in with Microsoft

We carry them around everywhere we go, and many of us feel naked without it, but our mobile phones are playing an ever increasing role in our lives, even going so far as to replace our wallet or purse.

There’s an idea called “cashless society” that has been floating around for years, presenting a future where money is still around, but less of us are using it in its paper, plastic, and metal forms. For years, people thought it would be credit and debit cards that would signal the end of coins and notes, but new research is suggesting that the mobile phone is changing the way we work.

Released by Nielsen this week, a study has shown that more Australians are using cashless payments, with 32 percent of the group studied switching to their mobile phone for paying for things, up from 12 percent 18 months ago. According to the research, more guys are using mobile devices to buy meals when they’re out and about, at restaurants and coffee shops.

Google Wallet

Here in Australia, we’re still waiting on Google Wallet to get its act together and let us pay for things with NFC on our compatible mobiles, but right now, downloadable apps like the Australian cafe servicing “Beat The Q” are helping out.

“I believe the move to a cashless society is imminent,” said Adam Theobald, founder of Beat The Q, a service he created after waiting in line for what seemed like forever in a queue at a Jack Johnson concert.

“A friend and I were waiting in the food line for 45 minutes, and when we eventually reached the counter, three young girls pushed in front of us. Disgruntled, we bargained with them, letting them go behind us instead. They agreed and moved back one space. I then proceeded to order 25 chicken burgers for all those in the line behind me and the group of girls. You should have seen the look on the operator’s face! They loved it. I then sold them to each person in the line for a couple dollars extra – they sold out in a matter of minutes.

“It was then that I realised time is precious, and there is a big market for convenience,” Theobald said.

The Android version of "Beat The Q".

For Beat The Q, that convenience is translated in the form of being able to order coffee, drinks, or food at various shops and cafes around the country, with a pick-up happening five or ten minutes later.

But evidence of the cashless society is happening more and more regardless, from our wallets even to our credit cards.

While the Nielsen research this week suggests payments are changing with mobile devices, it’s also having an effect on the wallet, as the fashion accessory adapts to match the constantly mobile nature of our lives.

The recently successful "Slim" wallet project on Kickstarter, created by Supr Good Co.

Numerous Kickstarter projects are being started, each with a different look at how the redesigned thinner wallet should look.

Why carry around lots of notes and coins if you don’t need to?