What’s the Best Wallet for the Credit Card Obsessed?

I receive compensation for many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).


I’d love some reader advice on what wallet to carry for someone who has a lot of credit cards and doesn’t want to leave them all in a drawer… but without spending a ton of money and still getting something decent-looking that I can take out in a business environment to pay for a meal.

For a few years I had a great wallet. It wasn’t great because it was a $265 Ghurka wallet. In fact, I had never heard of Ghurka when I bought it, I got it for free by stacking multiple deals at Vente-Privee and I only wanted it because it had five credit card slots on each side. And, of course, I could stick more than one card in each slot.

Overstuffing it wore out the wallet, and I replaced it with another one I have gotten for free (and had sitting in a drawer for a few years). It’s a Tumi, but only three slots on each side.

I stack the cards in this one, too, and that wears it out faster. With only six total card slots I’m limited in what I’m able to carry with me. And all things equal I’d be more like George Costanza:

I’m not going to compromise on what I carry. I want to carry my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, my Citi Prestige Card, and my
Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express for spending.

That gets me a Visa, a MasterCard, and an American Express. It gets me three transferable currencies. And it gets me bonuses on travel, dining, and entertainment — plus strong earning on unbonused spend.

I also want to carry my Platinum Card from American Express. If I only wanted the card for elite statuses, like Hilton Gold and National Car Rental Executive, I wouldn’t have to carry it with me. But I need it for smooth entry into American Express Centurion lounges (though I’m told they can look you up at the desk but that’s a bit of drama I’d rather avoid).

I don’t need to carry my Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ Mastercard® for American Airlines Admirals Club access. First, if I’m flying American I can gain access with my Citi Prestige Card. Second, the Citi Executive card gives me a membership so that my frequent flyer number shows I should gain access. But if I’m wanting to access the lounge when I’m not flying American same day, I feel a little less weird showing the card rather than asking them to look me up. (Authorized cardmembers gain access to the club by showing the card, since they don’t get true memberships — just access — and therefore need to carry the card.)

You can tell lounge access is important to me — I’m going to carry my Priority Pass Select Card in my wallet, too. That gains access to Alaska Airlines lounges, to The Club lounges, to many international airline lounges in the US and of course to many lounges around the world. I carry the one that came with my Citi Prestige not the one that came with my American Express Platinum — both come with unlimited visits, but Prestige comes with unlimited free guests (up to 2 each visit).

I need my Drivers License, my security access card for work, my ATM card.

And I want to carry other cards as well, plus anything new that I’ve signed up for where I need to meet a spending requirement. (This year I’ve already met the $40,000 spend thresholds on both the Citi Executive Card and the Barclaycard Aviator Silver to earn 10,000 American elite qualifying miles from each and also the $40,000 spend threshold on the Hyatt co-brand to earn 5 stays and 10 nights towards re-upping my Gold Passport Diamond status.)

So I need slots. I also want a decent or at least professional-looking wallet (not cheap-looking) but I also do not want to spend a lot of money. My two most recent wallets are decent-looking and even pricey but I didn’t spend any money for them.

How do I get a decent-looking wallet with plenty of slots without spending a lot? Do readers have any recommendations? What do you carry?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »

Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

Comments

  1. Mont Blanc has a high quality black leather wallet with 5 slots for credit cards (20).

  2. Get an Allett SoftTech Nylon Traveler Wallet. It’s the thinnest wallet money can buy and extremely durable. There are two “models.” One has a slot for your passport and two compartments that will hold about 10 credit cards/drivers license//ids/etc. The other one has four credit card size compartments.Both have plenty for room too for paper currency.

  3. I would think that every credit card bonus points nut like me would do the obvious thing: get a flagship Samsung phone that enables you to use Samsung Pay almost anywhere. I have in my Samsung Galaxy S6 my (1) Citi ThankYou Premier, (2) Chase Sapphire Preferred, (3) Chase Freedom, (4) SPG personal Amex, (5) SPG business Amex, (6) Business Premier Gold Amex, (7) Marriott Rewards Premier, (8) Alaska Visa, (9) United Mileage Plus, and (10) BofA Rewards credit cards. I can and have used Samsung Pay everywhere and only had it not work ONCE…and that includes both in the USA and abroad (including Bogota, Managua, and Bora Bora).

    In my wallet, I therefore only HAVE to carry my driver’s license and ATM card. I also carry my Chase Ink Cash (usually) or Chase Ink Plus (rarely) depending on where I am going–since those are not supported by Samsung Pay yet.

    Unlike Apple Pay or Android Pay, I can use Samsung Pay and swipe my phone by ANY credit card machine (including non NFC devices).

    You want less in your wallet? Get a Samsung top line phone and use Samsung Pay. It’s amazing.

  4. I have a Royce Leather wallet with 4 card slots on each side in addition to a flip out ID pouch with windowed pockets on each side. There’s also 2 main flaps, one which I use for currency, and the other for receipts and less commonly used cards. I’ve had it for at least 4 years now and it’s still going strong. I’d highly recommend it.

  5. I used to do Ghurka for a long time, but they didn’t last as long as I thought. I have a 5 slot tumi that I like just as much.

  6. Great post as I’ve wondered the same. I use two Hammer and Anvil slim wallets from Amazon. One is my everyday wallet with my CSP, SPG Ink, Prestige or a card that I choose to rotate in. Also have my debt card, work security badge and ID plus a little cash. Very slim package. I’ll trhow my second wallet in my back pack when traveling, Priority Pass, Goes, other credit cards as desired.

  7. There’s an app for the priority pass card. That’s always worked perfectly well for me.

    Also, I agree about Samsung pay, but not if you need to insert a card (like at a gas pump).

  8. Get a Samsung phone with Samsung pay support. Add cards to that and then you can “carry” 10 other cards easily while still physically carrying the ones you deem most important. There is NO requirement on the vendor side and it will work EVERYWHERE. Might not work when handing a card off at a restaurant, and it will not work on gas pumps and ATMs where the card has to be inserted inside the machine. Otherwise it works fine and anywhere unlike android and apple solutions. It does not require NFC and actually fools old normal card machines into thinking a card was swiped.

    I do not yet do this myself, but after researching extensively as recently as last night this will be my solution in the near future. Much better tech than the other two as no special support on the merchant side and thus will work virtually everywhere I want it to. Samsung phone in my future. iPad will cover all my iOS needs when traveling.

  9. I use an inexpensive Fossil trifold leather wallet. It has 11 slots for cards. Not fancy but more than sufficient for my needs.

  10. I’m surprised you don’t practice a 2 wallet strategy.

    I have one for day to day; that has my drivers license, health insurance, primary Australian cards l, myki transit card and Aussie bills in.

    I then have a travel wallet that contains my passports, more important frequent flyer cards, US and UK credit cards, spare foreign currency and transit cards for cities in visiting, that get swapped in as required (Opal, Octopus, Clipper, T-Money etc.)

    Both my wallets are by Bellroy, although probably not to you taste as they are more about stacking cards than lots of slots. Very well made in nice leather in attractive colours. 37 krisflyer miles/10USD on the SQ shopping portal if that matters.

    Apple Pay is beginning to make inroads, I appreciate how it will let me have both US and Aussie cards at the same time. Unfortunately my number one card for everyday spend doesn’t support it yet.

  11. I’ve using a wallet I get at a local swap market for over 15 years now. It has a dozen slots for credit cards plus 2 compartments for bills. It also zips up so you can keep anything from falling out. It’s a little thicker than other wallets but it has worked great for me. It even has a slot on the outside for a driver’s license under clear plastic. It is made with genuine leather. They generally last about a year which is pretty good for the $7 it cost me. Give me your address and I’ll send one to you.

  12. It’s not convenient if you want to see all your cards at once, but I really like the Decadent Minimalist wallet due to its small size and its “wow” factor. Then again, I’m a mechanical engineer, so maybe I can get away with this kind of thing where others can’t. It comes in 3 sizes: 4, 8 and 12 cards. I carry an 8 card version with the money clip everywhere and when travelling I throw my backup cards, priority pass, etc in a second 8 card unit.

    https://decadentminimalist.com/

  13. I recommend that you shop on the android or apple app called wish. My wife picked me up a cool credit card/money clip from there and I love it.

  14. COIN is pretty awesome.

    But it does have number of limitations. It doesn’t work with chip card readers (it has NFC which SOMETIMES will work for readers that would ordinarily require a chip). It also validates cards by putting a small temporary transaction on them, so it will not work with your flexible-spending debit card or your transportation credit card–you’re stuck carrying those physical cards. The other limitation is that if you are buying something where the cashier needs to match your ID to your card, you’re out of luck because your name is not printed on the card (although it does have a place for your signature on the back).

    You can only load 8 cards onto your COIN at a time, but it is REALLY easy to re-synch a different collection of cards from your phone on the fly.

    That said, COIN has allowed me to reduce considerably the number of physical cards in my wallet, which is a BIG plus. It would be FANTASTIC if it could let me eliminate them all!

  15. I have used a “Swiss Gear” wallet from Target. It lasted easily 6 years. Before that I had a Wenger Swiss Army Knife wallet. That one lasted about 3 years, but cost 4 times more than the Swiss Gear wallet. Both had slots for at least 12 cards, plus a special slot for drivers license. Recently went to a”47 Maple”, total junk wallet. So, I’m looking for a new wallet as well. I find that ebags.com has a good selection of wallets and one can purchase thru an airline portal to earn extra miles. Ebags.com has most of the wallet brands you are considering, just not Gucci, Hermes, etc. I guess you can “showroom” and then purchase the wallet you like on ebags.com.

  16. I’ll make a second recommendation for Big Skinny. I’m on my second one, had the first for many years. I use their nylon ones, not leather. They definitely look different than leather, but I like it and don’t think it looks cheap.

    They hold soooo many cards, and still stay very thin.

  17. I’m a big fan of the Bellroy Hide & Seek wallet. It only has four slots, but that’s good enough for my driver’s license and three main everyday spending cards. There’s a pocket behind the drivers license slot that’s meant to hold a bunch of cards that you don’t always need – perfect for the Platinum, Priority Pass, etc. I usually keep 4-5 cards in it, and the wallet is still pretty thin. If your security card for work is the kind that only needs to be touched to a pad, there’s a hidden slot against the back of the wallet for that too.

  18. +1 for the Slimfold soft shell RFID-blocking: http://www.slimfoldwallet.com/ (some of their stuff is on amazon)

    11 card pockets (1 windowed), and even fully loaded it’s far thinner than my previous leather wallet was empty. Pictures make it look bigger than it is, it’s the same dimensions as a passport. It should hold every card you mentioned, plus 2 rotating.

    One of the nice things is that 4 of the pockets are inside with the currency, so they’re good for less frequently used cards. I keep my security access card back there, it goes through the RFID foil so i just have to swipe my wallet to get into the office. The vertical card pockets and big currency pocket make it easy to put an extra card or two in with the money if you don’t want to stretch pockets.

    It can also easily handle the gigantic 100 euro and 20 pound banknotes when travelling.

  19. I use The Tribe wallet — a minimalist-style that is incredibly comfortable in my pocket. I usually just rotate out cards and carry a few per day — but today I happen to have more than usual. I have 8 credit cards in there, plus my driver’s license and health insurance card, a $100 bill, and an RFID-blocking plate. With the width of the 24K gold-plated bars on either side, it is about 5/8″ thick today — thicker than normal as I typically only carry 4-5 cards. Right now I’ve got black carbon front and back with the gold bars and it looks classy and minimal when I pull it out. I’ve gotten plenty of compliments on it. I bought it through a Kickstarter a while back and then I just bought into the last kickstarter to customize the message on the plates and have plates to switch out for different styles. I’ve been using the original for more than a year and the elastic is as solid as it was at the beginning. I’m happy with it and don’t think I’d go back to a slotted wallet as they tend to collect too much extraneous crap.

  20. For a man that can spend $120k on essentially non bonus spending in five months, I would recommend the Bottega Veneta Nero.

  21. I typically stack 25+ cards in the cash compartment in addition to the 10+ in the actual card slots in my wallet. It makes it fat but efficient. and I keep it in my backpack instead of pocket so doesn’t look too bad

  22. I really like Bellroy (http://bellroy.com/) they have several slim options that hold 10-12 cards (I have the card sleeve, which holds up to 8).

    As someone mentioned above, there’s now a priority pass app that can save you a card!

  23. I carry lots of credit cards also. I have been using Big Skinny wallets for several years. Great quality and can fit a ton of stuff. I won’t switch.

  24. I’ve been using this one for the last few years – https://www.trihold.com/

    It has 6 slots for cards, however I’ve stacked exactly 20 cards in it. And it’s still very slim.
    However, that’s about the limit I would say. If you have less than 20 cards then it’s definitely perfect.

  25. Found this thread via google–but I should have known Gary would have a post on this issue. Based on the recs above I bought the Big Skinny Men’s Compact Sports Leather Bi-Fold Slim Wallet and I am really, really happy about it. I have 17 cards in it currently, but it would easily hold more. It also has a separate compartment for cash, so it’s not like a money clip situation or something where you have to fold the bills. I also have a lot of receipts I need to hold for business reimbursements and so I need that bill compartment for those too.

    It is still amazingly thin (short of wrapping a rubber band around your cards, seriously I don’t know how it could be thinner), and the leather is actually pretty nice, especially for a $25 wallet.

    I went with brown. The wallet looks better in real life than in the picture:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004AZIL0W/ref=twister_B00PUB9CJY?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *