All change Boost for card­hold­ers as use of cash wanes

The Guardian - - NATIONAL - Mor­wenna Fer­rier

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

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