When you leave the house, what are the two things you grab instinctively? That’s right: your keys and your wallet. Carrying a wallet is more than a convenient way to keep your cash and driver’s license close: a good wallet lets you both store essential documents discreetly and flash your credentials with authority. Compact and concealed, a solid wallet lets you reach into your pocket seamlessly and effortlessly access everything from personal information to notes. Whether you want to showcase your bona fides or simply pull out a couple of bucks for a cup of coffee, you’re kind of up the creek without a solid wallet to carry essentials.
Even if you love your wallet, it might be time for an upgrade. To lend a hand, we’ve broken down the best wallets around so you’re never caught off guard.
Travando Slim Wallet
If you’re looking for a compact wallet that will let you make the most of a small space, the Travando Slim Wallet is a solid candidate. The leather material is, by its nature, highly durable, preventing issues with wear and tear while protecting your cards and other precious items. The main part of the wallet flips open to reveal a money clip that, firmly attached to the wallet structure, holds bills firmly in place. With the capacity to carry 11 different cards, this billfold protects all of your identification and credit cards with ease. Plus, if you find yourself worrying about data theft in this increasingly technological world, the RFID-blocking features of this wallet are an additional perk. Meant to slide easily into your pocket, this wallet holds everything tightly to give you the peace of mind you seek. [Buy]
Buffway Minimalist Wallet
Anyone who’s ever gone through a rough patch, whether the challenges of deployment or of returning home, learns to prioritize the truly important things — and that’s just what the Buffway Minimalist Wallet is designed for. This streamlined wallet features a main compartment to let you carry cash, while the front features a clear polymer opening for your ID card or driver’s license. Behind it are eight slots for other cards, pictures, or notes to self. Made out of leather, it is able to effectively block risky RFID signals without becoming too bulky. At under five inches, this compact wallet lets you keep the necessities close without overdoing it. [Buy]
Bulliant Leather Wallet
As the technology evolves, those who seek to steal personal information gain more tools. That means you need a wallet that can keep up, protecting you (and your bank account) from the dangers of the world. To prioritize personal security, check out the Bulliant Leather Wallet for its sleek design fortified with protections against data theft. The wallet itself is designed to go in your front pocket, ringing in at less than four-and-a-half inches across. Despite the slim design, it still enables you to carry everything important, featuring 11 card-holding pockets with a main pocket that opens slightly to let you use the tap feature of a card. If you choose not to, you can flip the card around and use the RFID protection built into the design. With a money clip inside the flip-open structure and a coin pocket, this wallet is both secure and convenient. [Buy]
Shevrov SV Carbon Fiber Wallet
Protecting your information is the key feature of any wallet that’s built to hold onto your cash, stop your credit cards from taking a tumble, and keep your identification close. So, as threats to personal security grow, your wallet needs to be able to keep up. That’s why the Shevrov SV Carbon Fiber Wallet is such a unique selection. Sure, leather is a popular material, but it has a limited frequency range against which it can protect you. The blend of carbon and aluminum in this wallet’s construction offers next-level security by acting as a stopper against radio frequencies. Able to hold up to a dozen cards, you can keep all your important items close. Plus, with the money clip at the back, this waller both lets you hold onto some bills or enables you to clip the wallet to your pocket. Tough, durable, and compact, this wallet is a high-end selection for those with a focus on personal data protection. [Buy]
Bull Guard RFID Wallet
Whether you’re returning home from deployment or cycling through a fresh PCS, the world changes often and it helps to have a tactile item to remember the days of old. But that doesn’t mean holding on to your tattered wallet — it looks more like the Bull Guard RFID Wallet and its classic look. Crafted out of soft brown leather and measuring just over four inches long, this wallet is lightweight and compact enough to fit anywhere. It opens to multiple card slots and a money divider with its bifold design meant to provide easy access to your essentials. Since it is made out of leather, it offers all the modern advantages of reasonable RFID protection without getting too futuristic in design. Classically designed, this leather wallet is great for those with traditional values. [Buy]
Types of wallets
- Slim wallet: If you’ve ever dealt with a bulky wallet that won’t slide into your pocket, you’re familiar with the value of a slim wallet. The minimalist design is meant to help you keep the essentials (and only the essentials) on your person. That means it has fewer card holding pockets and a small opening for cash. Most don’t incorporate closures, using the pressure of the design to hold your items firmly in place. The compact structure is geared towards those looking to cut through the noise and only carry the things actually necessary to function.
- RFID wallet: A modern type of wallet, the need for protection against data theft is relatively new. Designed to block radio frequencies from accessing the cards inside the wallet, these are built to resist RFID skimming. It all comes down to the material used in construction: while leather offers a baseline level of protection, more advanced materials like carbon-fiber and aluminum go one step further. This type of wallet is designed for those who always carry their credit and debit cards and want to prioritize personal security.
- Bifold wallet: Often called a billfold, this type of wallet touts a more traditional design. Popularized when paper money became prevalent, the bifold wallet originally had few card compartments (originally used for business cards). Modern designs keep the original structure that opens at the center, though add in extra openings for cards. The textile structure ranges in material from leather to nylon, though many prefer leather for its natural level of RFID protection.
Key features of wallets
- Cash holding: Even if you prefer to do your transactions digitally, carrying cash is always wise, which means your wallet needs to accommodate. Quality wallets feature a compartment for your cash, though its size and accessibility differ based on the type of wallet. Bifold wallets have the biggest opening, while minimalist designs incorporate a smaller slot. The key is that the wallet has space for you to safely store your bills so you can access them as needed.
- Card holding: From your CAC card to other ID, credit to debit, a worthy wallet needs to be able to house all of your essential cards. Even with a slim design, you can expect your wallet to support 11 cards. Depending on the design, there will be a clear compartment for photo ID or an opening to let you use tap features for financial transactions. The most important part of this feature is that the wallet holds your cards tightly, preventing them from slipping out of place while you move around.
- Security: From literal pick-pockets to the risk of digital information theft, a wallet is an important line of defense both monetarily and personally. Most wallets incorporate some protection against radio frequencies, referred to as RFID security. This feature relies on the material, so if you want that benefit, look for leather or carbon-fiber wallets. The other security component lies in the physical design. To avoid bulk, most wallets don’t use snaps or zippers. As a result, it is imperative that the wallet tightly hold cash and cards in order to secure your goods.
Benefits of wallets
One key advantage of having a wallet on your person is that it makes carrying cash and cards easier. Whether you store your finances in a bank account you access via debit or simply in cash, keeping a wallet on your person means you’ll always be able to access your money. While you could, technically, just tuck your cards and cash into the pockets of your cargo pants or in your backpack, it will probably be tricky to access them. Instead of holding up a line in the store or scrounging awkwardly for change with your barista, just keep your things together in a wallet. This also goes for proof of identity: keeping ID on your person is important to drive a car, get a military discount, and do a whole host of other activities. A final advantage is a wallet’s ability to prevent you from losing your cards and cash. Pockets get holes. Things fumble and fall. It’s easier to drop a dollar bill than a whole wallet. Instead of running the risk, plan ahead and store your supplies in your wallet.
For those focused on affordability, there are some reasonably effective wallets in the under-$20 range. Most are fairly compact and less durable, so for long-term use, it may be better to move onto the next bracket. Between $20 and $40 is the sweet spot for high-quality wallets. In this price range, you can maximize storage, optimize security features, and find a wallet that will last.
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