Money in your Pocket: How Mobile has Changed our Money Habits

5 Minutes Read


You might have asked why a marketing agency would dive so deeply into the changes of the mobile technology and the effects of the world we live in. The truth is, that we here at PRIME are constantly looking for connection, engagement, and community on behalf of our clients. There are a ton of ways the shift to mobile has changed the way we advertise, the way we find new business, and the way we share our lives both in a connective context and a social interactive context. We know that today's advancement will be tomorrows standard.

As we look to wrap up our series on how the mobile economy has rocked the socks off of our daily lives, today, we're talking about one that affects every human being on the planet. Here's a hint—it's green, made of a unique kind of paper, and if needed, in a pinch, can be used to play "Presidential Flashcards" for a few minutes... Today, we're talking about how the mobile economy has made for a complete makeover on the way we deal with money—how we spend it, how we save it, and how we trade it. Let's dive in.

Mobile has Changed the Way we Deal with our Dollars

At one point or another, we've all been the lucky shopper who unsuspectingly found ourselves in the check-out line behind a sweet old lady. What follows is a glimpse into another time that so starkly contrasts with how we handle our money now, you can't help but be a bit amused. With a little dismay and a little interest, you watch her fumble around in a bag bigger than she until it's located—the checkbook. 

With an arthritic hand, she writes out a check the in slanting, lost cursive of yesteryear, and hands it over to the store clerk. Maybe even to boot, she writes it for an amount over the total due, so she can get some cash easier than driving over to the bank. As the employee runs it through the reader, GamGam makes a note of the purchase in her check register. Forty minutes later, you're waving a phone over an Apple Pay reader, still bemused at the snapshot of history you just witnessed.

Nothing has changed the nuances of our day to day the way that mobile banking and mobile purchasing has. Balancing a checkbook is as ancient as sewing your own clothes. Having the shower cut off only to realized you forgot to pay the water bill is a thing of 90's sitcoms. With banks essentially in our pockets, we can control our money more easily than ever. And that power comes in a few different forms. Let's take a look at just a few.



Bill Pay

You'd be hard-pressed to find a company these days that doesn't offer the ability to pay bills from your phone without having to send in a paper check each month. What's more, you can set up automatic payments that withdrawal set amounts from your linked bank account each month.

Wonder what your last bill was? Got charged twice for something? All you have to do is pull out your phone, log into you're the appropriate app and check it out on the go. No sitting on the phone for hours, climbing the phone tree, being put on hold, transferred again and again, or disconnected after hours of trying. You can check what you need to while waiting in line for your morning coffee, and pay bills without lifting a finger.

You can also automate the notifications on your bills by using a service like Mint. From the makers of TurboTax and Quickbooks, Mint lets you know when your payments are due, how you are spending and if you have accrued any late fees for those non-automated payments. Clarity Money and Personal Capital are two other options in this space. Anyway you slice it, using your smartphone to stay on top of your finances is easier than ever.



Mobile Deposits and Transfers

One of the greatest aspects of mobile banking is your ability to move money around in the blink of an eye. Tons of banks are catching on, with companies like CapitalOne, Wells Fargo, Chase, and Regions leading the way. Sitting in line at the grocer only to remember your checking account balance was getting low?

Transfer funds with the click of a button and have cash in your account before GamGam is even done signing her check. Or perhaps your GamGam has sent you her annual $10 Christmas check. For so long we went to the bank to make our deposit. Sometimes it more trouble than the check was worth. But with mobile deposit, simply snap a photo of the front and back, and you've got $10 spending money in your account in a matter of minutes. You don't even have to live near a branch of your bank to make sure that check is deposited. Mixed with online banking, smartphone banking is revolutionizing the way we go to the bank.



Open Sourced Payment Networks

It's a fancy title, but open-sourced payment networks simply refer to apps like Venmo, Paypal, or Zelle from Wells Fargo that allow users to use a digital wallet to make payments. One of the greatest appeals of these apps is the ability they grant users to make peer-to-peer transactions.

There's no need to have the cash to divvy up bills between friends, you can simply send payment between accounts with the use of their email address. Back in the day, you would go out with friends and someone would put the bill on their card, taking cash from people to compensate. More often than not, they came out ahead, as people in the group might tip over 20% and they would put their card down for the bill and tip 10-15%. Or there would always be that one person who wouldn't pay you back when you picked up the bill, as they "didn't have any cash on them." Weeks would go by – now they don't have to thanks to apps like Paypal and Venmo. Thanks technology!

Mobile has made roommates getting groceries, friends paying utilities, or parents paying babysitters much, much easier. When one person is buying all the food for a weekend getaway, ordering the Uber, buying concert tickets, and so on, they can get immediately reimbursed by all involved parties for their expenditures pronto. You can even send requests for what others owe via the wallet apps. There are even social media components to some of these tools. And, as always, security is of utmost importance. Like with every other financial component, if the app isn't secure, it wouldn't be in business. 



Tap To PAy

Tap to Pay is a form of payment that allows a customer to tap a card or device against your card reader to pay instead of inserting a card. Many consumers are now adding their debit and credit card information to their mobile devices using Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay, and bank or specialy retail applications to streamline their payment methods. It is a very secure payment method, and there's no need to key in their PIN or sign a receipt.

With mobile payments growing at 40% per year, there are many benefits to accepting Tap to Pay transactions because it affords faster transactions, accepts "wallet-less" customers, and makes for secure transactions. Whether you're getting a coffee and Starbucks scans your app or you're using PayPal on the go at your local Home Depot. Retailers are trying to make it as easy as possible to make your purchases. They often give you purchase points or rewards when you connect your membership cards, store credit cards, or gift cards through the same functions. 

Let's face it, nothing works everywhere like cold hard cash. Credit cards are accepted most places, but are not quite as universal as the green stuff. The variety of mobile applications that work for these needs are on the rise. We will definitely keep our eyes peeled for what on the horizon in how we bank and pay for things. Let us know what your favorite mobile banking or payment app? What makes it stand out, easier to use, or more intuitive to your spending.

At PRIME, we value insight into what makes the world tick, and we know you do to. Thanks for being with us in this series. Coming up next will be a look into the world of design and what is needed in today's design-forward marketplace.


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Joshua Weir

Digital Marketing Director

Josh lives at the center of perspective and methodology. As a writer, a strategist, an artist and a creative director, he loves the collision of ideas, words, and aesthetics; leveraging the power of connection to make an impact on the world. A seasoned professional, having worked with companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 and non-profits to NGOs, Josh brings 20+ years of strategy, marketing, and design experience to the PRIME team.