There’s something liberating about walking around without your wallet. No giant clump of leather, plastic or fabric pressing itself against your thigh. No awkward outlines in your pocket. No shuffling and shifting in your seat just to retrieve it.
That is, until you realize you’ve lost all your money, tickets, rewards cards and coupons.
While there isn’t anything that will replace your driver’s license or other government identification, there are a slew of apps that can effectively replace the rest of your wallet, streamlining your life and preserving your favorite pair of jeans.
What it replaces: Cash, credit cards, loyalty cards and coupons
Launched in 2011 and available on iPhone and Android, Google Wallet gives you the ability to make purchases in stores and online, as well as withdraw cash from ATMs with your phone or a card.
By attaching your credit cards, debit cards and bank account to the platform, you can make direct payments with whichever sources you want through Google Wallet. You can also keep a balance on Google Wallet, and make direct transactions with legal adults in the United States with an email account.
Recently, Google rolled out a new instant buy feature for iOS, which had already been on Android for a year.
If your wallet is bursting with loyalty cards, Google Wallet will integrate those, too. Some brands like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts have apps that already do this, which you can access through Google Wallet. For everything else, just scan the card, and it becomes a scannable bar code in the app.
And with Google Wallet, you’ll never have to worry about coupon clutter: You can access offers from sites like Valpak and redeem the offers in-app.
What it replaces: Travel and entertainment tickets, loyalty and rewards cards
“Wait, I thought you had the tickets!”
There are few worse feelings than the horror of getting to a venue and realizing you don’t have what you need to get in. With Passbook, a native app for iPhone, you can store and scan almost any kind of ticket you need, whether it’s a boarding pass for a flight or box seats for a baseball game.
Like Google Wallet, there’s a wide variety of apps that work directly with your account and can be integrated with Passbook. For almost everything else, you can scan the ticket and present an electronic version when it’s needed.
From Belly to Hilton HHonors, Passbook also works with rewards and loyalty cards of all types, centralizing your hard-earned points in an easily accessible app.
What it replaces: Your credit and debit cards
Opened to the public in March 2012 and available for iPhone and Android, Venmoallows you to make direct transactions with your phone contacts. You can connect a credit or debit card to your account to make payments, and a Venmo balance will accrue from payments you receive from friends. You can also connect your bank account to your Venmo profile, which allows you to cash out your Venmo balance.
While Venmo doesn’t let you purchase items like Google Wallet does, it’s a useful tool for splitting checks and immediately reimbursing your friend when he spots you if you don’t have any cash. And while it won’t replace your wallet by itself, it will definitely reduce the hassle and risk of carrying around large amounts of legal tender