The wallet and purse have become redundant with the launch of a rubber wristband that can be used to pay for a bus journey or buy a coffee.
The bPay band has been developed by Barclaycard although it can be used by anyone, regardless of who they bank with.
The band contains a smart chip and a tiny radio antenna that triggers a payment when it is swiped over a terminal on a bus or the security barrier at an underground or train station.
The same technology can pay for a cup of coffee or a sandwich when the wristband is waved over a high street till terminal.
Initially, the bands will be made available to 10,000 commuters in London, but there is a plan for a national launch next year, presenting them as an alternative to cash for
Children may use them to pay for their daily school bus journey, while workers can to travel to work, buy lunch, a newspaper or a glass of wine without ever needing cash.
Initially, they are a standard black, however, in time users will be able to personalise them to suit their own style and
Users effectively load money on to the band from their own debit or credit card via the bPay website and then make purchases up to a value of £20 on a single item.
They can top it up themselves online or arrange for cash to be automatically loaded if it falls below a set trigger point of, for example, £5.
Barclaycard is issuing the 10,000 wristbands to mark the start of a new system of contactless payments on London’s public transport system, which has now banned the use of cash to buy a bus or train ticket.
The bands are one of a number of new ways to pay, which include smart tags that can be stuck on the back of a mobile phone or so-called contactless ‘tap and go’ debit cards, which are already held by millions of shoppers.
In London, the bPay band can be used instead of the blue Oyster cards that commuters use to get around the capital, charging the same fares.
The bands are part of a wider revolution in wearable technology which will allow people to negotiate daily life without using cash.
All the major tech giants, such as Apple and Samsung, have developed smart watches, which will have a range of functions from monitoring heart rate to giving directions.
Just last week Apple unveiled its smart watch and a system called Apple Pay, which will allow people to make purchases by swiping the watch or an iPhone over a till terminal.
Barclaycard said: ‘Just imagine a typical day in the near future. You leave the house, hop on the train and head to the gym. After your workout, you grab a coffee and go to the office.
‘The money or information you need for every stage of that journey will be integrated into a single device like bPay band – from your travel card to your gym membership to the money for your coffee and lunch.
‘It’s a time that isn’t quite here yet, but it’s not far away. Innovations like bPay band are bringing it closer every day.’
The bPay bands, which are rubberised and waterproof, have the security benefit that they are less likely to be lost or stolen than a wallet or purse.
They have already been successfully used in trials at major public events such as the British Summer Time Music Festival and London Pride, where they worked to authorise entry and buy food and drink.
However, they are now moving into the mainstream in that they can be used at any one of some 300,000 till terminals around the UK – many in coffee shops and newsagents – that already work with contactless debit cards.
The bPay band can be linked to any UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card and used to ‘touch and pay’ for transactions with a value of up to £20 wherever contactless payments are accepted.
Because it is worn on the wrist, there’s no need to dig around in a handbag for a purse, frantically hunt for a wallet or carry around a separate card holder.
The band will also help commuters avoid ‘card clash’, which can arise where the card readers on buses, stations or at tram stops in London detect more than one contactless card and either take payment from a card that was not intended to be used or present an error message.
Tami Hargreaves, the Head of Contactless for Barclaycard said: ‘Every second counts to Londoners on the morning commute and having to rummage around for your wallet, hunt down your purse from the depths of your bag, or encountering the dreaded red light at the ticket barrier can feel like it’s adding ages to the day.
‘With bPay band you just hold your wrist to the card reader to pay for your travel, you can then also use it to pay for your coffee on the way into the office, and lunchtime sandwich.”
‘bPay band from Barclaycard is about making paying for everyday essentials simpler than ever.’
Banks and retailers are desperate to encourage the public to switch to electronic payments, rather than real cash, notes and coins which are expense to handle and transport.
The 10,000 bands that are being released in London will be free of charge, while there is no fee for making purchases in this way – at least for now.
The bank said: ‘At the heart of the bPay band is a pre-paid account to which funds are either added automatically when the balance runs low or can be done so online.
‘Customers can easily manage their accounts and instantly see their transactions online using their mobile, tablet