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Card Holder vs. Wallet: Which One Is Best For You?

Card Holder vs. Wallet: Which One Is Best For You?

Wallets have been around a long time. Ever since our species started walking around, we needed something handy to keep our valuables in. As long as we have had the idea of a currency, we have had the idea of keeping that currency safe and accessible. This is the main function of a wallet: security and accessibility.

However, with advancements in technology, the design and look of wallets have changed dramatically. We have gone from coin purses to bi-folds to, now, e-wallets.

Of course, with each iteration, there is not a full disassociation from the previous iteration. Many wallets today still have a coin pouch. We still need coins, but with new fashion trends, the coin purse has been updated and integrated into our modern wallets.

Likewise, many of you might have an e-wallet for all of your various cryptocurrencies and credit cards through things like Apple Pay or similar electronic credit cards. However, this has not fully replaced the need for an actual physical wallet. But hold up because there is a new iteration of a wallet calibrated for our modern needs: a card holder. 

Here, we will break down the differences between a traditional wallet and a card holder. We will delve into the advantages and disadvantages of each so that you can make the right decision for whatever your needs may be. 

The Differences Between the Two

Let’s start with the differences. These may be to varying degrees of differences due to the fact that some wallets and card holders might look similar. More and more often, companies are constructing hybrids of the two to try to satisfy both bases.

However, we will stick with thinking about the differences between the two as strictly a traditional bi-fold wallet and a true card holder. Hybrids will be discussed later.

Size Is the Big Difference

Most likely, the biggest difference at its face is the fact that wallets, in general, are a bit bigger and bulkier. Of course, the movement toward slimmer wallets has made this difference less noticeable. Developments in design have improved the efficiency of size and space for the wallet, but the difference still stands. 

There Is a Difference In Purpose

The difference in size is generally due to the fact that there is a general difference in purpose for the wallet and the card holder. Wallets obviously are for more than just cards: cash, pictures, coins, etc.

Card holders are more for exactly what it sounds like: holding cards. Depending on what you need in terms of what needs to be held, you might go in different directions.

The Aesthetic Difference

These two handy devices are looking more similar to each other these days. The popularity of card holders has led to companies investing in sleek, attractive items. There is no need to carry your cards in a little plastic baggy or tucked into your socks: The card holder is the epitome of a minimalist carry in every way.

No shade to the wallet though. We still love everything the wallet has to offer. There is a slight aesthetic difference in the fact that wallets are a more classic look, whereas card holders are a more modern look. Depending on what you want in terms of aesthetics, you might go with one over the other if all other things are equal. 

Pros and Cons of a Wallet

Perhaps your wallet is beginning to break down a bit. It happens even to the best of them. Perhaps it is getting too bulky and is putting pressure on your back unnecessarily. Perhaps the wallet your uncle gave you during the Holidays of 2011 just does not make you feel comfortable whipping it out on a dinner date.

If that is the case and you are in the market for a wallet, here are a few pros and cons of the wallet against the card holder:

More Space/More Bulk

As has already been stated, more space is one of the biggest strengths of a wallet. It allows you to store a wide range of things at the expense sometimes of a good amount of bulk being added. Wallets have a variety of different design features that really will help keep your items organized and easy to access.

One of these design features is a money clip. The money clip will keep your bills organized and easy to access. The added features of most wallets can be done in a slimmer variant shown in our Apollo. This traditional bi-fold wallet comes equipped with a money clip as well, and yet it is not too bulky to make things difficult. The slim, leather money clip is glow-up from the boring metal clip found in the bottom of every kitchen junk drawer.

Concealed Compartments for Safety

Wallets, because of their size, also have a bit of an advantage in the fact that important bills, cards, and documents can be stored in harder-to-find compartments. This can keep some information much safer than a card holder.

Increased Durability

Because of its bigger size and generally more quality construction, wallets have an increased durability factor that card holders, in general, do not have. Obviously, some card holders are going to be a bit more durable than some wallets, but the average is definitely weighted in favor of the wallet. 

Pros and Cons of the Card Holder

In the past, one would never see a card holder at the forefronts of fashion and craftsmanship. This is no longer the case, as card holders have come a long way in recent years. Some prominent journals have even suggested that card holders are the way of the future. While this total trend overhaul is still up in the air, the card holder is a fantastic option for many.

Less Space/More Slim

This is obviously corresponding with the pro/con of the wallet. Card holders cannot carry nearly as many things, yet they are slimmer. Potentially designed to fit in your front pocket, they take the stress off your back and are easier to conceal. 

If you’d rather have available pocket space real estate for snacks and your phone case, a card holder might be best for you. Plus, some clothing options have the world’s tiniest pockets, so much so that a card holder is a total necessity.

Increased Design Features, But Still Limited

In recent years, the design features of card holders have overcome some design flaws. For example, a lot of them have the option to have a small money clip for small amounts of cash.

In addition, the advent of a pull-tab has made accessing the cards even easier than before. This has its limitations, but if you value these things enough to put you over the edge for the card holder, know that the options are out there! 

Increased Card Security/Accessibility

Most card holders (and wallets as well) today have RFID blocking as a standard feature. With increased skimming fraud being a normal part of modern life, the card holder market has caught up with this trend quite quickly, thus making your cards more secure.

On the other hand, your cards are extremely accessible. This is a double-edged sword as it may make your life easier and make your cards more accessible to you when you want them, but that also makes them more accessible to any intruders into your wallet. Keep this in mind with card holders, as there is a slight trade-off happening here. 

The Hybrid

Dog breeds mixed with poodles (creating The Doodle) have become insanely popular.

The combination of breakfast and lunch (brunch) is always a sure bet.

It’s safe to say that people love a hybrid. 

It seems that the hybrid wallet has become super popular. A lot of the positive aspects of the wallet and card holder, respectively, can be partially achieved with a slim hybrid wallet.

Take our Pilot as a prime example. Though leaning in the direction of a card holder, it also has the capacity to store cash while maintaining a slim design. 

If you are on the fence with these two breakdowns, consider the possibility of a more hybrid wallet/card holder. Andar has a few to choose from that are all made with our expertly crafted full-grain leather. 

Not only do you get the storage and the slimness, but you can also still carry full grain leather that is beautiful and extremely durable. 

The Division Is Lessening, But Still Real

Card holders and wallets used to be competitors, and to a certain extent, still are. Wallets are known for more storage space, but more bulk, whereas the card holder may be slimmer but is a bit more limited. The hybrid combines the best of both worlds. 

No matter which you pick, you’ll love what you carry when you carry Andar



The History of Money: From Barter to Banknotes | Investopedia

Mobile payments in the United States - statistics & facts | Statista 

Are You Dating Yourself by Carrying a Wallet Instead of a Card Case? | Wall Street Journal