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What I talk about when I talk about running

Dodging the rains, I have just returned home after a run. I prefer to cycle but a run was a necessary and efficient way of re-balancing the calorific excesses of the previous day.

As one of the kids has pinched my headphones, there was to be no inspirational high-beat music today, My internal sound track was instead formed from thoughts from an interesting week at work. It was all quite hypnotic and it reminded me of the Haruki Murakami book "What I talk about when I talk about running". 

​Unlike Marakami, who contemplated existential issues whilst training for a 62 mile supermarathon, my more modest challenge allowed me to think a little about the world of consumer payments. I know, I know - but we cannot all be philosophers.

I though about what I was carrying in my back right pocket. A mobile phone - obviously. Even if iTunes was to be of no use today, I still needed to use the Strava app to tell me where I have been, and how many calories I've burned. If I needed refreshment, I could have used my Starbucks app. My phone also has Uber so I could have got home in the event of a mishap. Obviously my iPhone has other functions but it appears that I am already running in a world of mobile money.

​But not so fast. In my back left pocket was a barely noticeable thin strip - my Barclaycard. For "just in case".

​Today's announcement from ​the UK Card Association that transaction volume has hit one billion a month for first time reminded me that many payments industry experts may be calling the "end of cards" a little too prematurely.

Don't get me wrong - I love the phone and I'm an enthusiastic champion of mobile payments, but the fact is card growth continues, and card usage is to be encouraged, Certainly as an alternative to cash. Interestingly, I'd never really realized before that when I run, I run without cash. 

This state of contemplation was all very lovely until my phone ran out of battery charge about 2 miles from home. That was annoying - I no longer have a reassuring metric on Strava to tell me the effort was all worthwhile. And I cannot share my time with fellow Strava and Facebook friends.

But it would have been worse if I'd actually needed Uber or if I had been dependent on my mobile money. I think I'll keep the card for "just in case" for a while longer yet.




Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 13 October, 2014, 10:481 like 1 like

Thought provoking anecdote. It would be very 'meta' to run while listening to an audiobook of Murakami, wouldn't it? Seriously, a year or two ago, the same anecdote would have been about cards and cash. Clearly, cards are the new cash. I guess that means we can look forward to cheapskate gambits like, "Sorry, I'd buy you a drink but my batttery has run out".

Lu Zurawski
Lu Zurawski - Lu Zurawski - London 13 October, 2014, 14:59Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thanks for the comment Chris. Perhaps we should look beyond phones and batteries - I just came across an ad for Jawbone UP. I'm guessing that the UP wrist band band has a longer battery life than my soggy iPhone. And an evolution of this wearable will be just as good as a payments ID. So no excuses in the bar after the 5-a-side.

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