What Would You Rather Lose: Your Smartphone or Wallet?

What Would You Rather Lose: Your Smartphone or Wallet?

Waking up to no alarm going off is a joy only enjoyed on holidays — or on a day where you’ve lost your smartphone and you didn’t know until you had to wake up. Late to work, because you don’t remember where your phone is; it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a stressful way to start your day. The day this happened, I had to rush to the office already late and slowly retrace my steps to see if I knew where my phone was. I didn’t.

A phone is no longer just a communication device. It’s so much more — it’s my camera, calculator, alarm, flashlight and timer. With Apple Pay and Android Pay, my smartphone is also my wallet. If I lose my phone, I lose more than I can imagine; all those sentimental text messages, photos, notes, and contacts.  Everyone's familiar with that feeling of sheer panic that washes over you when you can't feel your phone in your back pocket; do you feel that same dread when you realize you've misplaced your wallet?

Smartphones have become an essential part of our daily routines. From being our GPS, communication device and source of entertainment,  it's no wonder that life becomes much more difficult without our pocket-sized portals to the rest of the world. The question remains: is losing your phone easier than losing your wallet? It depends on who you ask; we all place emphasis on what matters most to us. A recent study showcased that those in Europe and North America believed losing your phone is worse, whereas those in Asia believed that losing your wallet is worse. To assess the damages here, let’s come up with a hypothetical. What happens when you lose your wallet?


Losing Your Wallet

First, you'll have to cancel all your credit and debit cards which is a hassle no matter how you look at it. This means going to a bank, or multiple banks, as you will definitely need a temporary replacement while they process your lost card. Next up, you’ll have to get your government ID and driver’s license reissued. Again another pain point. Lost cash? Nothing to be done there. What else goes in a wallet? Not much else perhaps. So a visit to the bank and to your municipal office to get cards issued again. Total cost: $100 or so? What about losing your smartphone?


Losing Your Smartphone

You'll need to try and locate your phone, or put it on lockdown and wipe it remotely if possible. Both Google and Apple offer tracking options to help you track down your phone. Next up, you’ll have to disconnect any authorizations to apps that you have on your phone. Don’t want someone to access your Gmail account on your lost smartphone? You’ll have to revoke access remotely. Next, you’ll want to visit your mobile carrier to get a new SIM card and a new phone. The costs here could be the same as paying for a brand new phone, which is to say it won’t be cheap. With most high-end smartphones costing upwards of $900, the financial cost is equivalent to the emotional cost of losing your phone. In a way, we find our phones as extensions of ourselves. When’s the last time you went to the bathroom without your phone? Even when I shower I have my smartphone with me for music.


What's Worse?

Chances are, if you ask any of your family and friends, they'll say that losing their phone is worse. Before smartphones were popular or even existed, your wallet was probably the most important thing you could have misplaced; your money and ID were the most valuable things you had. Circumstances are much different in 2018 since smartphones have become such an integral part of our lives. With the access our smartphones give us, it’s no surprise that we’ve evolved to depend on it. Hungry? Whip out your phone and Google restaurants near you. Need directions? Open up your GPS app and be on your way. While you may have been surprised to learn that more North Americans would rather lose their wallet than their phone, it shouldn’t be as much of a shock when you consider the values of each.


Losing your wallet is an inconvenience that can be overcome with a few quick calls and a bit of cash. Don’t lose your phone though — that could set you back emotionally and financially.


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