Wallets Are So Last Year

Concept design could eradicate wallets and credit cards forever

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© 2017 Artefact Group

Technology these days, no matter how useful, has taken a big step away from the simple life. Even a trip to the supermarket seems stressful. If the annoying lady at the cash register wasn’t enough, you then have the five minute fumble of looking for your loyalty card, the rifling through your credit cards to find one that might be accepted, all the while trying not to leave any of the aforementioned items behind. Walking out the shop you begrudgingly check your bank balance on your smartphone app, sigh, then realise it’s not even synced up to your credit card anyway. Then there’s all those coins you have floating about at the bottom of your bag from the money Jim owed you the other day and oh, that reminds you, you need to text Claire and ask her to transfer her half of the bills this month. Sound depressingly familiar? Well, that’s where Token comes in.

Although still very much a concept, design firm Artefact have designed an invention that “pulls all these incongruous things together”, as design director Craig Erickson declares, eradicating the wallet altogether. Token presents a unique, more efficient way of managing your money, allowing you to electronically pay and keep an eye on your finances through just a few taps on a wristband.

The Band-Aid-sized screen on your wrist consists of four touchscreen buttons: ‘pay’ (purchase from a seller), ‘give’ (transfer to someone), ‘ask’ (request money from someone) and ‘peek’ (check your balance). Bluetooth-enabled, the ‘pay’ button would combine with in-store technology to add up your total and prompt you to confirm it. ‘Peek’ on the other hand, provides bar graphs for each of the bank accounts you have set up on your Token, syncing with your outgoings and incomes for a real-time insight. Accumulating all your activity into one device may be the answer to all your impulse urges, being able to watch the damage as it happens. And one mock-up even suggests that this giving and paying may work through fist-bumps!

But is it safe?

If they can get the technology, Token plans to beef up its security to the highest possible degree. Not only would users need to enter a password on the touchscreen and scan their fingerprint, but Erickson wants to add in an accelerometer, which means your watch will only turn on when it senses a human pulse. Much more foolproof than accidentally leaving your bank card on the bus for anyone to rob you with.

So maybe there is a reason behind the mass-production of all the seemingly pointless fitness trackers being released right now... to pave the way to the next step of smartwatches: Smart wallets. A platform for tracking and presenting your activity and its effects for an easier and more informed health (or in this case monetary) experience. Token - fitbits financial twin - combines the recent popularity of wearables with security sensors in order to produce a device concept that could become invaluable to our everyday life.

But whether it becomes a reality is yet to be seen.