Looking for the most "unforgettable" wallet
March 22, 2021 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Well, for the first time in the 14 or so years I've been carrying a wallet, I lost it yesterday on a flight. I reported it to the airline and both airports; let's keep our fingers crossed. I wish it were possible to keep my credit/debit cards and license on my phone and not have to carry a wallet, but not every store accepts Apple Pay, and digital driver's licenses remain a pipe dream in my state. There are a lot of "trackable" wallets like the Tile series, but are they only as good as the Bluetooth connection of your phone, and thus just as vulnerable to loss once you walk away? I also see a device that claims to chime when you walk away from it (the Woolet), but all the information I can find about it is stuck in 2017, which is not reassuring. As of now (March 2021), what are my options?
posted by Seeking Direction to Computers & Internet (23 answers total)
 
Best answer: Are you only looking suggestions on electronic devices that will help you remember? If not, I only buy wallets in a fire engine red for this reason.
posted by pumpkinlatte at 12:59 PM on March 22 [4 favorites]


Best answer: There are phone cases that will hold a few cards, which might bridge the gap between Apple Pay/digital drivers licenses, and carrying a full wallet.
posted by primethyme at 12:59 PM on March 22 [10 favorites]


Response by poster: Electronic devices, mostly. But I'm open to any suggestion. A red wallet would certainly be easier to find than the brown leather wallet I had.
posted by Seeking Direction at 1:00 PM on March 22


Best answer: If you're good at keeping track of your phone, would you be willing to consider a card sleeve that attaches to your phone? I use something like this. (It holds about four cards - I choose which cards to include based on what I use at places that don't take ApplePay.)
posted by mskyle at 1:01 PM on March 22 [6 favorites]


Response by poster: About the phone cases: yes, I've seen those, and they are an option. And yes, I'm much better at keeping track of my phone than my wallet. Which phone case wallets are the best and most durable?
posted by Seeking Direction at 1:01 PM on March 22


I can't speak to most durable, because, well, I'm not sure that matters. I bought a cheap plastic phone case/wallet combo from the checkout line at TJ Maxx and used it for like three years. It was still in fine shape when I got rid of it; I just added a couple of cards and exceeded capacity. It was plenty durable despite being theoretically low-quality.
posted by kevinbelt at 1:04 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


Tile will use other people's accounts to tell you where your lost device is, it's not limited to your Bluetooth.
posted by notjustthefish at 1:05 PM on March 22 [9 favorites]


I got a smartish phone case about a year ago and I like it a lot. You can get a custom image on it if that appeals.

I forget my wallet semi-often, and the only thing that works for me is combining it with either my phone or keys.
posted by momus_window at 1:09 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


I use a card case on a lanyard and wear it around my neck. You can get them with more card slots or zippered sections, depending on your needs.
posted by QuakerMel at 1:37 PM on March 22


Yep, my wallet has always had a "leash" such as a long strap which can be attached to a belt loop.

I am currently using a dime-a-dozen old wallet-sized camera bag. Like wearing a wallet-sized purse. It's always attached to my person when I'm out and about.
posted by aniola at 1:41 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


You want a multi-pronged approach so there are multiple failovers in place.

Practical: integrate the wallet into something you are very unlikely to forget. So a phone case wallet, wallet chain (connected to either your pants or your bag, if you carry one) or a little more discreet retracting lanyard reel (that's what I use for my keys, fastened to the purse organizer inside my purse). If you really do only carry a few cards, you can use a card moneyclip or minimalist wallet on the lanyard instead.

Technological: Tile. It's not perfect but it helps.

Ritual: Every time I am leaving somewhere, I touch my glasses, phone, and wallet. That's the little jingle in my head, it goes "glasses phone wallet?" and I must visually (phone and wallet) or tactilely (glasses) affirm their presence. It's not enough to think I have them, confirmation every time.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:42 PM on March 22 [7 favorites]


I carried a chain wallet in the 90s (oh, the 90s!) and once felt it slapping up against my leg because it had fallen out of my pocket but stayed on my person. Bring back the chain wallet!
posted by jabes at 1:53 PM on March 22 [3 favorites]


Some travel wallets still have chains that are minimally obtrusive (black metal not chrome, not super long), and the chains are usually removable if desired.
posted by aramaic at 2:00 PM on March 22


Seconding the Smartish brand phone wallet cases. I’ve used a phone wallet case for years, both thicker folio style cases (I’ve been partial to 12 South’s Bookbook) and cases like the smartish. Never forgot my wallet since. I carry my license, car insurance, health insurance, and one debit card at all times.
posted by Pacrand at 2:10 PM on March 22


There are a lot of "trackable" wallets like the Tile series, but are they only as good as the Bluetooth connection of your phone, and thus just as vulnerable to loss once you walk away?

The point of Tile is two-fold - it reports the last place your phone and the Tile device were in proximity and, if you report a Tile-filled something missing, the device pings itself to other Tile App users so that the Tile infrastructure can tell you "Hey, it was just seen in place X". Additionally, the Tile device makes noise when you ask it to in the App, so if you and it are geographically close but you can't see it, you can probably hear it.
posted by hanov3r at 2:27 PM on March 22 [2 favorites]


I also recommend writing down a list of anything important that you carry in your wallet and their associated numbers (if any) so that if you lose the wallet, you know what you need to replace.
posted by aniola at 3:24 PM on March 22 [1 favorite]


A non-tech solution: I used to misplace my wallet all the time. I'd have an "oh crap where did I put it" at LEAST daily, and would really fully lose it, getting phone calls from grocery stores where people turned it in a few times a year. I bought a large colorful wallet from MyWalit. It's spendy, but it's beautiful and it makes me happy every time I see it. And it worked! I have not misplaced it once, in several years.
posted by tchemgrrl at 4:34 PM on March 22


I like the bandolier brand of wallet phone case.
posted by wowenthusiast at 6:11 PM on March 22


Do you have an inkling of how you lost it? Did you take it out of your pocket at some point? If not, then I'd probably look at a chain or lanyard, or switch to putting your wallet in a front pants pocket instead where it's less likely to slip out.

(In general, I only allow my wallet to be on my desk at home, in my pants pocket, or in my hand, and nowhere else, and that's been working well for me.)
posted by Aleyn at 7:54 PM on March 22


I use a chain and attach it to my purse instead of my person. It has saved my ass so many times!
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:11 AM on March 23


Response by poster: "Do you have an inkling of how you lost it? Did you take it out of your pocket at some point? If not, then I'd probably look at a chain or lanyard, or switch to putting your wallet in a front pants pocket instead where it's less likely to slip out."

TSA checkpoint. I keep my wallet in my front pocket 99.9% of the time and feel strange if it isn't there, but you can't have anything in your pockets with TSA's full-body scanners. I thought I threw it in my backpack, but it wasn't there.

Thanks everyone!
posted by Seeking Direction at 3:21 PM on March 23 [1 favorite]


Ah, yeah, TSA lines definitely complicate my wallet habits as well. In the before times, I flew often enough and always carried the same backpack with me when flying, and I'd always make sure my wallet ended up in the same pocket of the backpack before I put it through the scanner. Then, on the other end, I always make sure to return my wallet at minimum to its usual pocket before leaving the TSA area. It takes some forethought to carry off right though, so I need to make sure I arrive with enough time to not feel even slightly rushed so I can allow myself to take the time I need to re-situate and take that mental inventory on the other side. (It probably helps that I'm somewhat paranoid about losing my wallet and phone during trips too.)

If you can't work out something like that (e.g. always carrying on at least one piece of luggage that is the same and has a good spot to put your wallet) then probably one of those trackers is your best bet.
posted by Aleyn at 11:04 PM on March 23


Response by poster: Update: a kind soul found my wallet and mailed it back to me! I think I'm going to use a card sleeve attached to my phone from now on. Thank you everyone!
posted by Seeking Direction at 4:45 PM on April 13 [2 favorites]


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