Okay well not really el Segundo but somewhere at home – after having just flown back from Nairobi a few days ago I’m somewhat jet lagged you see. The funny thing is I only realized I was without cards and cash when I arrived at Toronto’s Pearson airport and got out of my uber ride; something long ingrained in my head wanted me to reach for my wallet and pay the driver when we arrived.
My flight was leaving in an hour and a half and I couldn’t have made it home and back in time so I thought, why not see this adventure through armed with my cellphone and passport alone?
Having just spent 3 weeks in Kenya It was clear to me just how important MPESA has become there – in situations like these one can simply go to Kenyan ATM and type in a code from your mobile phone to access your MPESA account and make a withdrawal. After some frantic googling whilst in line for security it became clear that Apple Pay, though days away from local launch, is not available here in Canada and I would have to simply convince someone in Ottawa once I arrived to receive an email transfer of funds from me and pay that back in cash…
… This was my plan until I saw something curious on my walk through the terminal to my gate – CIBC has an actual branch at Pearson! Within just 20 minutes I had convinced a teller that I was who I (and my passport) claimed to be and was issued a replacement VISA debit card from which I withdrew some cash for my 2 day business trip!
CIBC was very speedy in helping with this, and the solution worked though I can’t help wondering how many other Canadians find themselves in similar situations. My bet is that most people carry their mobile devices more often than physical wallets – surely they should be the primary means to access cash and make payments in this day and age?