Modern wallets - differences in structure, handling and names

Höhenvergleich kleiner und großer Geldbeutel

With increasing awareness and the trend of wanting to carry less, many people have been looking for an alternative way to keep cards, bills and coins organized. Many forms and systems have developed from the classic leather wallet that are lighter and, above all, smaller.

A simplified structure is the decisive factor for the small size of a modern wallet

The decisive factor why modern purses such as smart wallets, slim wallets or card cases can take the same or a larger number of cards with smaller dimensions is based on this:

Unlike a leather wallet, the cards are not kept in separate compartments where a lot of material gets between the cards. Instead, they all lie close together, which saves a lot of space.

A distinction can be made between two different types of structure:

The purse is no longer fanned out, but consists only of a fixed or variable outer shell that holds the deck of cards together.

Holding the cards together with a clip

An element such as a spring or a clip is usually installed so that the cards do not fall out of wallets that have a solid outer shell made of plastic or metal. Well-known examples of this are the i-Clip or the Secrid Slim Wallet.

The big disadvantages of a solid outer shell are that the wallet can only take a fixed number of cards and is always the same height, regardless of whether only one card is taken or the card maximum is used up.

Holding the cards together with a rubber band

The simple and better alternative to this is to enclose the deck of cards with an elastic rubber band and two outer shells that protect the cards from external influences and scratches.

The elastic band ensures that the cards are held tightly and the wallet adjusts to the number of cards. This elastic band and the two outer shells ensure that the cards in our Lockcard Wallet are held together reliably and adaptably.

Another advantage of this system is the possible expansion with multifunction tools. Thanks to the rubber band, you can store things like RFID blockers or cash compartments between the outer shells to save space - which also gives coins or bills space in your wallet.

Differences in function and handling

In order to be able to use the cards that are now on a stack, the various manufacturers have come up with different systems that are intended to guarantee simple and uncomplicated handling.

Fan out with a slider

Many brands that rely on a solid outer shell and thus on a precise number of cards build into their slim wallet the function of using a slider to push out the cards and immediately fan them out.

This function is very useful. However, it requires a complicated structure, which usually makes the wallet more expensive. You can't take a different number of cards with you.

Sliding out the cards one by one

The manufacturer I-Clip relies on a viewing window on the bottom of the slim wallet. This allows the cards to be pushed out one after the other until you have reached the correct number of cards.

Since the I-Clip has a fixed frame and you can only take up to eight cards with you, finding the card you are looking for shouldn't be too difficult when pre-sorting the cards.

Slide the cards halfway out of the wallet and fan them out

Manufacturers like the Ridge Wallet or we rely on pushing the cards halfway out of the wallet thanks to a recess in the housing and then fan them out with your fingers.

This takes a bit of practice, but is the only way to operate a wallet that adjusts to the number of cards and has the ability to carry different sized coin compartments.

The naming under small purses

Slim and smart wallets, card cases & card holders. These are all different names for small, lightweight wallets that are broken down to the essentials. 

Cardholders are mostly simplified classic leather wallets that have been made smaller and lighter by not being able to store coins and fewer cards in the wallet.

In card cases, the cards lie directly on top of each other and usually do not offer the possibility to take coins with you. Exceptions are card cases with a coin compartment. Smart and slim wallets stand for a wide variety of wallet types. Usually it's just a small, light purse, sometimes with the possibility to take coins with you, sometimes not.


Small dimensions and lightness make a modern wallet. This is mostly achieved by reducing material and using lighter materials than leather.

However, the decisive criterion for a smaller pack size is the superimposition of the cards. This saves you a lot of space in your pocket - and leaves unnecessarily thick wallets behind you.

Reading next

Einfach und verständlich erklärt - Der Unterschied zwischen aktiven und passiven RFID-Blockerkarten - Lockcard
Münzgeld - Die drei sinnvollsten Verwendungsmöglichkeiten - Lockcard

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