Even with the rise of portable card readers and payment apps, we still encounter the occasional “cash only” situation on our daily adventures. Whether you want to tip your waiter in cash, buy something from a street vendor, support a busking musician in the subway, or just like the feel of hard-earned paper money in your hands, it pays to carry a wallet that’s got you covered.
This shouldn’t mean carrying an overstuffed George Constanza-like monstrosity of a billfold—instead, you can carry cards and cash without adding extra bulk to your pocket or bag if you pick the right wallet. Designs that will allow you to fold your bills neatly over in two, avoiding the triple-fold (and deterring the act of just stuffing your cash in a pocket), combined with the use of durable, versatile materials mean that you can cash in on some super slim, efficient pieces that will withstand wear without taking up extra space.
Filson Small Bi-Fold Wallet
The Filson Small Bi-Fold is a new classic. Filson means quality—after all, they have been crafting goods made for hunting in the US since 1850. Their products will hold their own almost no matter your daily use. The Bi-Fold is made out of vegetable-tanned leather with Tin Cloth accents, which will age beautifully over time. There are two slots for cards, a security pocket, and a leather strap bill-holder for keeping that reduces the bulk of extra fabric that an entire pocket dedicate to storing your notes would entail.
Common Fibers Max
The Max Classic by Common Fibers claims to reduce the thickness of your standard wallet by 50%. This USA made wallet includes six slots for cards and a billfold for unfolded cash. The Classic also features two hidden pockets and RFID protection to give you that extra bit of security. All Common Fibers products use durable aerospace grade carbon fiber for that high-tech look and feel to a familiar wallet form factor.
The Vanguard Billfold by Flowfold boasts the same thickness as just two credit cards and a weighs the same as three sheets of standard printer paper. This practical wallet keeps you organized with one pocket for cash, two ID windows (that each hold two-four cards) and two hidden card pockets. The Vanguard comes in seven different colors of a strong and lightweight kevlar or carbon fiber cloth, so you can have enjoy personalizing your carry with just the right wallet to match.
Distil Union Wally Bifold
The Wally Bifold by Distil Union is a front-pocket-friendly wallet made with fine Argentine leather. The Wally has a metal money-clip inside for easy cash storage and access. With a super slim overall profile, both sides of the Wally have pull-tabs so that you can reveal and retract up to 12 of your cards back into your wallet for discreet access. They’ve even color-coded the ribbons so you know which pocket to pull from at a glance. (Editor's Note: See my full review of the Wally Bifold here for more info.)
Bellroy Low Down
As far as wallets go, Bellroy is a favorite in the EDC crowd. They make a good point on the matter: Why, indeed, carry more wallet than your bills need? Bellroy’s latest, the Low Down, is a “slim wallet that loves flat bills” (and so do we!). This minimally designed piece accommodates both US and Australian currency (from the brand’s home country), as well as up to ten cards, in a classic landscape style. Like all Bellroy wallets, this one is made from vegetable-tanned leather and comes in five different colors. The Low Down lives up to its name and keeps your pockets slim and smooth with its tapered edges.
Capsule Minimalist Wallet
Offered in a variety of colors and leathers, this wallet by Capsule is truly minimalist. They make one product and make it well, with a proprietary CashStrap that helps you store and remove your cash in an innovative way. The main sleeve pocket holds a recommended two-to-four cards, and has a high-density lining to ensure you can slide them easily in and out. They’ve even reinforced specific stress points with extra stitching and debossed their logo onto the CashStrap to keep their branding understated. The standard model offers both utility and a luxury feel at a good value compared to other designer wallets.
Allett Leather Sport Wallet
Allet makes the claim on the “original thin wallet.” The Classic Leather Sport Wallet’s patented side-by-side pocket design has a single pocket for cash with room for up to ten cards. The Napa leather it uses not only patinas nicely over time (always a sweet detail), but it also produces less moisture thanks to its breathability. From the extra secure rubber grips in the card pockets to the SoftTech nylon interior, you get a great balance between materials for any situation from “the wilderness to the workplace.”
SlimFold Micro Wallet
For a vegan- and environmentally-friendly slim wallet, check out the new SlimFold collection. They get their thinness, light weight, and durability from resilient non-leather materials. The Tyvek option is thin and rip-resistant, while the soft shell version is tough against abrasion. High-tech and mindfully manufactured, these are bold, functional, and even waterproof.
The Dun Wallet is the world’s thinnest leather bifold at just 0.2” thick and weighing in at a single ounce. You can easily fit it into your front pocket, back pocket or shirt pocket. It can stash up to ten bills, or tickets and receipts in its unique triangular cash strap. Leather construction and polished hardware make the wallet well-suited for a more formal look. It fits most currency types, with room for a key or pocket change to spare.
ATELEIA Slim Wallet
For those of you who are fans of handcrafted artisanal leather goods, give the ATELEIA Slim Wallet a look. It’s cut and sewn by hand from beautiful natural, red, brown, or black leather. It can store up to 12 cards in its two outer pockets. An internal pocket can store 6-7 US bills folded in half. Despite its large capacity, it stays slim thanks to its simple, minimalist construction. It’s both a classic and reliable piece that can find a home in most pockets.
How are you carrying your cash these days? Let us know your favorite cash-friendly wallets and gear in a comment below.
Header image by Bernard Capulong