The other thing that has changed since 2014 is the pace of technology and the ability to walk out the door with no cash, no cards but just a phone.
Electronic payments are now a daily occurrence. Apple Pay maybe popular in the UK, and we will shortly see how popular (typing this on the way to the airport for Ireland), but in China we have Alipay and Wechat Pay.
Claire when she came out to visit us in April wanted to know if there was Martinpay as we seemed to be Alipaying everything, but Alipay, connected to my bank card is an extension of my wallet. I just open the app, either scan the shop’s QR code or have the seller scan my QR code. An instantaneous transaction happens.
WeChat the social media app also has a wallet function and up until Christmas 2018 this could not be connected to the Standard Chartered bank account that school opens for us. So money had to be transferred to the wallet to have a working balance of money. But now, there is no need to have a balance as the card can be connected now and when scanning a code money can be deducted immediately from my bank account.
However, for Alipay to work outside mainland China, you have to have an Chinese ID and this has caught us out a few times.
Also you don’t have to just use it for shopping. If you have to give money to a friend you can scan their qr code. Online shopping is the same, no longer enter your bank details – now you scan the qr code and you have paid!
My friend Cheryl gave me a small purse for my birthday this year and I wondered when I would use it. But I have now downsized my wallet as no longer do I use coins or notes… I have left my big wallet behind for this holiday… I wonder how I will cope with a small purse. Will I begin to use Apple Pay? Is it widely used in Northern Ireland? Only time will tell.