It’s a total fashion dough‘nt.
Carrying cash, identification and debit cards in a billfold has become akin to carrying around old butterscotch candies at the bottom of your purse as teens and early 20-somethings have officially declared wallets atrociously antiquated — or, more modishly put, “cheugy.”
“Millennials, apparently there’s a new way that we can age ourselves and it’s by having a wallet,” said Liz June, an expectant Miami mom in her 30s, on TikTok.
“Gen Z uses their phone as their wallet,” she continued, “so they have all their [money and] their IDs in their [digital] wallets.”
The baby-bumping blond announced the anti-pouch trend to fellow over-the-hill folks in a buzzy TikTok bulletin with 168,000 views and counting.
“How do you have your ID in your [digital] wallet?” asked the genuinely mystified millennial. “Is this a thing? Did I miss the memo?”
Yes, hon. You did.
Joining the pantheon of Gen Z-sanctioned hot-turned-not commodities are wallets.
The once stylishly acceptable accessory is now going the way of leggings, ankle-cut socks and other wardrobe dinosaurs as members of the rising demographic are making a hard turn toward its high-tech alternative.
A February 2024 report on the increasing popularity of the virtual carryall via PYMNTS, an online payments and commerce hub, and Amazon Web Services found that 79% of Generation Z consumers use digital wallets.
The study, too, determined that a whopping 51% of those cool kids not only trust their cellular devices to store money but also their driver’s licenses, medical cards and event tickets, all to be accessed in one simple click.
“Digital wallets, such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and PayPal, provide convenient and secure ways to complete online purchases,” noted research authors. “These wallets remove the cumbersome process of entering credit or debit card details at checkout.”
And hapless millennials who aren’t hip to the pro-digital boom are fast becoming the butt of every joke on social media.
“Stuff it in your skinny jeans, millennial,” spat a disapproving Gen Zer when an older pal Trey Kennedy reached for his trifold wallet in a parody TikTok post.
“Is there origami in there?” teased the shady adolescent. “It’s giving cheugy.”
Kelsi Mack, a cosmetologist and mom of three, virally recalled getting laughed out of the room by her 17-year-old sister, who informed her that even sticky wallets, which can be attached to the backs of smartphones, are absolute no-nos.
“She was like, ‘That’s so bulky,’” recalled a noticeably embarrassed Mack, who admitted to using the external card holder and a pop socket adhesive to aid her in stabilizing the phone.
“She was like, ‘No one uses pop-sockets anymore,’” to which the shaken brunette and her mother both replied, “I do.” But the older gals were gagged when Mack’s little sis said, “‘Yeah, well, you’re both over [age] 18.”
Although the unsightliness of physical wallets has become an unforgivable faux pas to fashion plates born in the early aughts, one money-wise millennial is advising trendy youngsters against ditching the pocket-sized accessories altogether.
“I watched [using a digital wallet] backfire spectacularly on one of my Gen Z students today,” said a millennial educator known on TikTok as @YourFavoriteEl.
“You have to be 18 to use Apple Pay and they will make you verify it by sending a picture of your ID,” she said. “One of my kids got sent $25 via Apple Pay and she was flabbergasted because she could not get this money … because she is not 18.”
The teacher then schooled tikes of the smug generation with some sage wisdom.
“If you are a younger Gen Z,” she said, “take a tip from the oldies [and use debit cards and wallets] for at least a few more years.”