Every product is carefully selected by our editors. If you buy from a link, we may earn a commission.

The Best Card Holders Do More With Less

Less is more. It's time to ditch your Encyclopedia-sized bifold wallet. Try one of these compact cardholders instead.

wallet next to the ridge card holder

Call them what you want — card cases or card holders — but the trustworthy wallets below are the best ways to carry cash, plastic and a few extra business cards — but little more. Think about it: a slimmer wallet that's easier to access is faster at the register and more comfortable in transit. Long gone are the days of George Costanza-sized cash canisters.

Why Carry a Card Holder?

As they say, less is more, and prolonged periods of sitting on a thick wallet could actually cause back problems. It's true. There's even a name for it: Wallet Neuritis.

It was first recognized in 1978, but it remains a rather taboo diagnosis. Usually, patients are told they have a pinched sciatic nerve, resulting in a sciatica diagnosis. Wallet Neurosis, on the other hand, comes on the same way — "long-standing use of rear pocket wallet may compress and sensitize ipsilateral sciatic nerve" — but doesn't go as far, essentially just "generating features resembling lumbago sciatica."

Either way, back pain sucks, and an easy way to exacerbate other problems is to carry a compact card holder instead — and in your front pocket. If you must keep even card holders at the rear, take them out before you sit down. You can put your extras in a crossbody bag.

Less Is More

There's a method to Japanese organizing consultant Marie Kondo's tidiness: the KonMari Method. It asks subscribers to keep the items close to them and "discard items that no longer spark joy." In the world of wallets, the joy-suckers are receipts, old punch cards and reward program fobs for stores you no longer shop at.

With a card holder, you really can't keep any of this excess weight. The limited space acts as an actual advantage in this regard, reducing the amount of room for this unique type of clutter. Card holders can often hold a maximum of 15 cards, and few of them offer space for sizable wads of cash. Your emergency bills will surely fit, but it's easier to do just about everything with our phones these days, meaning you can probably access your reward program cards, work ID and even vaccine card there, too. (Go ahead, take them out of your current wallet.)

How We Tested

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
collage of card holders
Gear Patrol Staff

We have used a number of the wallets on this list, which were sourced using insights from our personal shopping experiences, tips from experts and broader shopper feedback. We accounted for a number of consumer sets, finding wallets for folks who carry them in their front pocket, want to protect themselves from possible RFID fraud or simply want a slimmer tool for carrying their cash and cards.

Best Overall Card Holder
Anson Calder Card Wallet
Best Upgrade Card Holder
Shinola Five Pocket Card Case
Best Affordable Card Holder
Herschel Charlie Wallet
Best Metal Card Holder
Ridge Wallet — Aluminum
Best Fabric Cardholder
Pioneer Carry Molecule Cardholder
Best Made in USA Card Holder
Tanner Goods Journeyman
Best Slim Card Holder
Leatherology Slim Card Case
Best Bi-Fold Card Holder
Billykirk No. 427 Bi-Fold Card Case
Best Front Pocket Card Holder
Filson Front Pocket Cash & Card Case
Best Envelope Card Holder
RRL Concho Leather Wallet
Best Phone Case Card Holder
Bellroy Phone Case 3 Card
Best Zip-Up Card Holder
Ettinger Capra Mini Pouch
Best Vertical Card Holder
Postalco 10038 Card Holder
Best Vegan Card Holder
The Good Business Puffer Card Holder
The Best Wallets for Men
Henry Phillips

Explore over two dozen men's wallets capable of carrying cards, cash, coins, passports and even phones.


Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Buying Guides