Apple’s new digital wallet service has everyone talking, but it has me worrying

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This month, Apple unveiled its sixth iPhone and its first smartwatch. But for CPAs like myself, the focus was on a new service, not a new product.

During the same glitzy press conference, Apple announced its own digital wallet service called Apple Pay. What media attention it received came in the form of questions. “Will Apple Pay kill PayPal?” a CNN headline asked. (Short answer: No.) USA Today wondered, “Will Apple Pay be safer than credit cards?” (Not necessarily, but it won’t be less safe.)

My concern is something else entirely.

Too convenient?

If Apple Pay takes off, you’ll not only be able to buy clothes in the mall with a wave of your phone, you’ll also be able to buy a Coke from a soda machine without fumbling for a single and change.

That convenience is good news to those possessing iron-clad financial self-control. It’s bad news for those who struggle with temptation now or who engage in “shopping therapy” when they’re feeling a little blue.

As a credit counselor for more than two decades, I’ve heard horror stories from otherwise mature men and women who had no clue how much they were spending — because they swiped their old-fashioned credit card without really paying attention.

If they can’t master plastic, how will they tame their phone spending?

Using tech the right way

I know how this sounds: “Howard, you’re no fun. This tech is cool!”

I am fun! And I agree Apple’s technology is even more fun. I’m not a Luddite — I just want Americans to embrace technology that can help them save money instead of spend it.

Here would be my request: Everyone who pays to get an iPhone and use Apply Pay, please get a free version of PowerWallet. It’s a technology called PFM, short for “personal finance manager.” There are many available, and your bank may offer one, but I like PowerWallet the best — because I created it.

These programs securely link to your bank account and show you what you’re spending and where it’s going — often with nifty graphics that make managing your money less of a chore. When I was just starting out as a CPA, you had to keep a budget by jotting down numbers on worksheets or typing numbers onto a spreadsheet.

So don’t get me wrong, I love technology. I use it myself every day. I simply believe for every spending technology you embrace, try a saving one, too.

Howard Dvorkin is a CPA and chairman of, an educational resource for those who want to conquer all forms of debt in their lives.

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About the Author

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

Howard Dvorkin, CPA

I’m a certified public accountant who has authored two books on getting out of debt, Credit Hell and Power Up, and I am one of the personal finance experts for I have focused my professional endeavors in the consumer finance, technology, media and real estate industries creating not only, but also Financial Apps and Start Fresh Today, among others. My personal finance advice has been included in countless articles, and has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Forbes and Entrepreneur as well as virtually every national and local newspaper in the country. Everyone should have a reason for living that’s bigger than themselves, and besides my family, mine is this: Teaching Americans how to live happily within their means. To me, money is not the root of all evil. Poor money management is. Money cannot buy happiness, but going into debt always buys misery. That’s why I launched I’m glad you’re here.

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