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 It’s hard to imagine a time without smart phones but it was only as little as 10 years ago when essentials like the internet, your camera and banking weren’t all accessible with just a finger print.

Today, new research from Nationwide Building Society has revealed how reliant we have become on our mobile phones. Almost a third of us now rate our phone as our most important everyday possessions – over a purse or wallet. When asked what we use our phones for the most, over two thirds of those surveyed unsurprisingly said calls and texts took biggest priority, followed by taking photos (40%) and online banking (30%). However despite the obvious, phones are now the preferred way to listen to music (25%) and keep up to date with the news (21%).

As we use our phones more and more, there has been a rapid increase in making mobile payments – with Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay – on the move. Recent figures from Payments UK, shows that usage of contactless payment methods almost tripled last year. It has also been predicted that by the end of 2018, cash will be overtaken as Britain’s most frequently used payment. People in the UK believe it will be approximately six years before in-store purchases made with smartphones will completely replace the use of physical credit and debit cards or cash.

This comes as the Samsung Pay mobile payment service launches and figures from Nationwide Building Society show that, just two years ago, contactless payments accounted for one in 20 Nationwide card payments, now it’s one in three.

From Alexander Bell’s invention of the telephone in 1876, phones and mobile phones are unrecognisable. If they continue to develop at the same rate, our devices will allow us to do more than ever. Further research from Nationwide has also given an idea of how we think they will develop. 23 per cent believe that we will track our personal health with our phones, along with monitoring life changing illnesses and diseases (22%). 21% believe it will be easier to track with we eat and become more aware of what is healthy and unhealthy – many even believe we will use them as our own personal assistant.

Paul Horlock, Director of Payments, Nationwide Building Society said; “It is perhaps unsurprising that our mobile phones are rated as one our most important day-to-day possessions however, it is quite easy to forget than much of the functionality we know and love is less than ten years old. Digital Wallets were only introduced in the last few years and now Nationwide members make millions of payments with their phones each and every week with usage leaping 365% in the last year alone. From fingerprint login, to banking apps to mobile wallets, the mobile phone already provides millions of members greater access and control over their finances and we are continually exploring further enhancements.”

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