Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher

With over 35 years in the financial industry, Dan M. Fisher has proven himself as a leader in the financial industry holding roles as the former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and former Chairman of the ABA Payment Committee.

“Don’t it always seem to go, you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone!”

Sound familiar? Well, it is! The second headline is a stanza from “Big Yellow Taxi,” a song popularized by Joni Mitchell, Amy Grant, and the Counting Crows. Oftentimes the words ring true when we realize a significant loss of something important or special. Losing your smart phone is a dumb way of learning how careless you have been with your personal financial information, from banking accounts to plastic cards to the contact of every person you know!

The smart phone has expanded our mobility, and payment innovation has expanded our ability to make purchases in person or online. The Caribou Coffee Company is the latest to add a loyalty phone app to the list of merchants that are using host card emulation (HCE). Iowa is testing a smart phone driver’s license.

Soon, you truly won’t be able to leave home without your smart phone—because your entire day will be tied to it.

Talk on it? No! Chained to it? YES!

Life in Apple America

Next, merchants will not take cash, check, or plastic. That’s right, no smart phone, no service! It is only a matter of time.

I can imagine a new mall called the “Apple Orchard.” There you’ll find super deals and products offered exclusively at the Orchard … and only Apple Pay will be accepted.

Bluetooth sensors will detect your presence as you enter the mall area and with your preferences known, they will steer you the best deals. Stores will send you welcome back messages and the appropriate shelves will light up when you are near the product you are searching for.

As you drive back to the office or home, a Smart Speed limit sign flashes your name as you pass by and tells you to slow down. A follow up email will arrive at your inbox with a friendly warning that you were going too fast. And it will add that the next time you will be issued a ticket, with the fine being debited from your bank account.

The core of the ideas here is that the smart phone is connected, or soon will be, to every aspect of our lives. The smart phone in an abstract sense will tell us what to do and when.

Friendly and helpful reminders today.

But an obsession tomorrow.

Then it is gone!

Then, one day, like a bolt of lightning your daily routine is shattered by… OMG!!!

Where’s my smart phone?!?

At the speed of light you retrace your steps in that brain of yours.

Confused, terrified, and almost frantic, you run to your car to see if the phone is inside.

But the door is locked.

The keys are in the car.

And the code to the keyless entry is … on the phone. Wherever it is.

A stranger walks by in parking lot and like a scene out of the “Twilight Zone,” you think about asking them for help, and then decide to return to the store you were just shopping in.

Seeing a familiar store sales associate you inquire, “Did you find a cell phone?” No? So you ask them to call your phone.

With a judgmental smile, they punch in your number. After a short pause which seem like the entire day, a ring is heard … coming from your shirt pocket! Embarrassed but relieved, you express your gratitude and leave.

With your life quickly returning back to normal, you begin to think about what just happened and what could have happened, chuckle, and forget all about until you repeat the story with friends at dinner one night.

The story is true, the name of the individual this happened to will, however, remain confidential out of a concern for their emotional well-being.

It’s not just about your convenience…

Lifestyle is one thing, but information is another.

We have more stuff about ourselves and our daily lives on our smart phones than J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI had on Frank Sinatra. Losing your smart phone can be a traumatic and inconvenient experience, as I just described.

But having your information fall into the wrong hands can be disruptive and devastating.

It is sobering to realize what you had, now is gone.

You may not be completely up a creek

But even if you lose a smart phone, there are steps you can take to minimize your loss. And you can change the future by being protected and prepared.

  • Purchase phones that have kill switch features in the operating system that will “brick the phone” on command. (This makes the phone absolutely dead.)
  • Make sure you secure your phone with passwords and use secure wallets and Host Card Emulation apps that mask your card numbers.
  • You can even password protect your email.

One step I do not recommend is selecting the “Remember My Password” feature. As convenient as it may be, it sets you up to fail in a time of crisis, because you do not know the password and not all apps have a “Reset My Password” feature.

So, stop complaining, deal with it, and do it!

Secure your phone and prevent a future meltdown. Take time to know what you have before it is gone and re-write the end of the song!

“Ooooo Bop Bop Bop Bop! Ooooo Bop Bop Bop Bop! …”

Next Blog: “Taking A Day Without Your Phone …. Or Should You?”

—The Wombat!

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Dan Fisher
Dan Fisher

With over 35 years in the financial industry, Dan M. Fisher has proven himself as a leader in the financial industry holding roles as the former director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and former Chairman of the ABA Payment Committee.

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