Gen Z has embraced the ‘no-wallet’ trend.

When my millennial children were younger and still at home, I could never convince them to carry any cash, and this was before the apps that make digital currency easy.  They didn’t want to be encumbered by a bulky wallet, no matter how many times I warned them that they might, someday, be somewhere where there was no ATM.  It turns out that they were early on to what would become a cultural shift in personal currency and how we access and use it.

A 2023 study showed that 75% of millennials and 78% of Gen Z are using only digital wallets when they go out. The difference between now and 10 years ago is that there are now apps to assist in ditching the physical wallet.  Consumers want to use digital wallets not only for convenient and fast payments, but also to store documents like driver’s licenses, medical cards, boarding passes, and event tickets. They are using fast and secure ways to complete online purchases, bypassing time-consuming credit or debit cards at checkout. Ditching the wallet is also good for the economy. In 2023 studies found that digital wallet users spent 33% more on average, on restaurant purchases than nonusers  17% more on retail, and 4% more on groceries.

I have noticed a shift in the way even I pay for things.  I use my credit cards more and cash less.  Using change has become a thing of the past. I need to take the next step and trust my phone to keep my driver’s license, insurance cards, Global Entry, and other important items safe and accessible.  I still like hard copies of tickets and newspapers so this change will be a leap of faith for me.

The younger generations are way ahead in the process.  Here is what they are using:

For Apple iPhone users, Apple Wallet is pre-installed, and allows users to store credit and debit cards, boarding passes, event tickets, loyalty cards, and more. It also supports Apple Pay for contactless payments. Apple Wallet.

For Android devices, Google Pay enables users to store credit and debit cards, loyalty cards, and transit passes. It also supports contactless payments through NFC (Near Field Communication, short-range wireless technology) and peer-to-peer payments like Venmo. Google Pay.


Samsung Pay is exclusive to Samsung devices and allows users to store credit and debit cards and make payments via NFC or MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission), which enables transactions at traditional magnetic stripe card readers. Samsung Pay


PayPal is one of the most popular digital payment platforms globally. PayPal allows users to link bank accounts and credit and debit cards, and store funds in their PayPal accounts. It’s widely used for online purchases and peer-to-peer payments. PayPal.

Venmo, owned by PayPal, is a popular mobile payment service good for splitting bills, paying friends, and making small transactions. It has a social feed feature which displays transactions among friends. Venmo.


Cash App: developed by Square, allows users to send and receive money, link bank accounts, and invest in stocks and Bitcoin. It’s popular for its simplicity and versatility. Cash App


How to turn your phone into a wallet:

  • Find your wallet on your phone. Look for the icons above for iPhone wallet, Google Pay or Samsung Pay
  • Open the wallet and tap “add to Wallet” or the + button to add your credit card. Follow the prompts to aim your phone at the credit card side with account number.  The card should automatically load onto your phone.
  • Get validated. For security purposes your card issuer will verify that you are the authorized card user. Follow the prompts.
  • Your phone will have a shortcut that allows you to open your ‘wallet’ directly from your phone’s locked screen, saving you time at checkout.
  • Pay with your phone. Look for the contactless payment logo at the register.  Open the digital wallet app on your phone, authenticate your identity and select the card you want to use.  Hold your phone an inch or less from the contactless reader.  You’ll usually hear a beep from the register.  Check to see if you see “done” on your phone, or a checkmark.  That means your payment was completed.

Why your digital wallet is more secure than your old traditional wallet:

  • Your credit card information is never visible, unlike your actual credit card.
  • Digital wallets keep your data protected from unauthorized users with encryption technology, a technique that scrambles your data into a unique code.

All three digital wallets require a multi-factor authentication before authorizing a transaction.

Please Note: The total switch to digital wallets is not quite perfected.

  • Law enforcement officers cannot accept a digital driver’s license for I.D. in most states if you are pulled over.  Not all stores and restaurants are able to accept mobile payments.
  • Experts recommend we all carry one credit card and if we need I.D., a driver’s license.  Those are easy to slip between your phone and its case without adding bulk.
  • Security is also imperfect.  If someone steals your smartphone, it is possible the thief would be able to access your important documents and credit card information.
  • It is recommended to activate a safety feature in your settings. For Apple users it is called Stolen Device Protection. For Android, users should learn the steps necessary to lock and purge data from the device if its stolen.

My wallet is the largest and heaviest item in my pocketbook and I won’t miss it when it’s gone.  Oh, did I mention that millennials and Gen Z rarely use purses anymore either?