All change Boost for cardholders as use of cash wanes
It’s been called the cashless effect, the idea that we spend more when we can’t see what we’re spending. But as cards fast eclipse cash purchases, it is affecting not just how much money we spend, but how we carry it.
It started with the micro-bag, one of 2018’s biggest trends at Fendi and Jacquemus, Topshop and Zara. Large enough to carry a phone, a key fob and a card case but little else, the trend is now moving on to purses, wallets and even pockets. At Selfridges, coin-free cardholders are selling as well as purses, with the store claiming this season is all about the “downsized cardholder”.
Colourful cardholders from Commes des Garçons and Marc Jacobs are among their bestsellers. If last year’s cult item was the Prada paperclip – a $185 (£145) logoed device designed to carry banknotes – this season it’s all about the Byredo cardholder. Ben Gorham, founder of the hip Swedish label, says its cardholders are among its bestsellers in Sweden, where a cashless economy is imminent. In Britain, two styles are already sold out.
By 2026, it is predicted cash will be used for only 21% of purchases, according to UK Finance. The concept of a wallet or purse could disappear and be replaced by phone covers. The Dutch company Mujjo has just launched its line of iPhone cases with built-in wallets. Like Sweden, the Netherlands is virtually cash-free too.
The trend is being felt at many levels. Kathryn Bishop of The Future Laboratory says: “As we go cashless, it’s giving women a greater sense of freedom and as a result, accessories are getting smaller – in fact, they’ve become purses with straps.”
MM.Lafleur has created oversized pockets for women to “stash their daily essentials”. At Fendi’s spring 2019 show, pockets proliferated. According to the creative director Silvia Venturini Fendi, “if you have to multitask, so should your clothes”.
Bishop predicts bank cards may vanish entirely. “With companies like Biohax offering skin-embedded chips that allow travelcards to be stored – so you tap into the station with your hand – there is no reason why we won’t soon see the same with the chips from our bank cards.”
This shift is working in fashion’s favour. Accessories have bigger margins than clothes, and matching profits. Introducing a must-have accessory at a gateway price – a Commes des Garçons cardholder costs £70; a blazer more than £1,500 – it’s the only affordable way to afford any of this stuff.
Commes des Garçons’ colourful cardholder is a bestseller at Selfridge’s