CNN reporter experienced living in Beijing without a wallet

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A screen shot taken on April 10, 2016 from CNN reporter Will Ripley's Twitter account shows how he experienced living in Beijing with his smartphone. (Xinhua)

BEIJING, April 10 (Xinhua) -- In many places, if you leave the house without your wallet, you'll be in a tough spot all day. But in China's largest cities, you can definitely survive without carrying a pocket full of cash and credit cards -- as long as you've got your smartphone.

CNN reporter Will Ripley recently experienced this kind of life and shared his experience on He toured Beijing without his wallet and finds he can still buy anything he wants. Let's take a look at how he managed to live in Beijing without a wallet.

"China's fast-developing mobile commerce industry is estimated to dwarf that of the U.S., so I set out to see how far a phone would get me in the country's capital," Ripley said in his report.

In the beginning, Ripley was a bit skeptical about going an entire day in Beijing without his wallet, but later he said he was surprised to discover just how easy and convenient it is.

Ripley paid for breakfast by scanning a QR code on the window of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant that sells jianbing, a delicious fried crepe that's one of China's most popular street breakfasts. The purchase cost him 6 yuan (about 0.93 U.S. dollars) and took just a few seconds. All he had to do is input a password and the transaction is complete.

When Ripley took his breakfast, CNN news assistant Shen Lu paid her household water bill at the table. In seconds, she transferred funds from one of several linked accounts. She regularly used the same simple process to pay other bills and even her rent.

In most of China's cities, people can pay the bills by using credit or debit cards and also the internet banking which has been developed for many years. Since smart phones were invented 9 years ago, mobile phone banking is another convenient way of paying. But that's not all: the Wechat wallet and Alipay now has become a very important part of young Chinese people's life.

Ripley used his phone to hire a taxi to meet Gu Yu, co-founder of a new payment app, Mileslife. Ride sharing using a mobile payment app allows them to save money by ordering multiple taxi stops and splitting the fare at the end.

Gu said many urban Chinese don't even bother with credit cards because they prefer to pay by phone.
"It's what I'd call a late development advantage. China doesn't have a really lucrative credit card system," he said, "So Chinese just skipped credit cards and went to mobile payments."

China is the world's biggest smartphone market. Almost 360 million people, more than the population of the United States, have already taken to paying by mobile phone, according to the China Internet Network Information Center.

China has 413 million online shoppers. Last year, more than 50 million people tried online shopping for the first time.

"Much of rural China still relies on cash. Despite China's slowing economy, the huge untapped population of hundreds of millions of people represents a big opportunity for mobile payment companies," Ripley concluded in his story.