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Disappearing wallets?

Week 26, 2006

The card has first been replaced by a mini card that was merely a reduction in size of the same old thing. More recently, we have witnessed the appearance of key fobs as a means of payment. Some of these key fobs are monolithic, some others are with a detachable SIM-shaped device containing the semi-conductor. Now, G&D comes up with smaller MasterCard PayPass key fob, that will at first be issued to North American PayPass cardholders.

How will this technology evolution impact day-to-day behavior of cardholders worldwide? As of today, almost everyone carries keys, hence a key fob, whereas many people only carry wallets to keep their payment cards. It seems that after years trying to fill our wallets, the smartcard industry is now trying to empty them. Is this move the beginning of difficulties for the leather industry that will not supply wallets any more? Or will more governments switch to smart card based ID, that will need a secure as well as fashionable storage. Leather is not over yet!