15 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

MANAGE MONEY - BUDGETING
Guard your finances and identity by ditching these 15 wallet no-nos.
Updated Feb. 21, 2024
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Man pulls a brown leather wallet

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Your wallet is not just a receptacle for money and cards; it's a personal vault that holds your identity, finances, and security. 

While there are essentials every wallet should contain, some items have no business residing there.

Let's delve into the 15 things you should never have in your wallet to safeguard your cash and lower your financial stress.

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Social Security card

gguy/Adobe social security card in usa

Your Social Security card is the golden key to your identity. Having it in your wallet is like leaving the front door open. This small piece of paper can unlock a cascade of financial and personal troubles in the wrong hands.

Memorize your Social Security number and leave the card in a secure place at home. Protecting your Social Security card helps protect you from identity theft and avoid giving your money to scammers and thieves.

Passport card

chones/Adobe united states of america passport

Unless you're traveling internationally, your passport card has no daily utility. Its presence in your wallet unnecessarily elevates the risk of loss or theft.

Store your passport card securely at home, and if you're not planning a trip, there's no reason for it to occupy valuable real estate in your wallet. Your passport card is a global ticket, and keeping it safe is your first step toward secure travel.

Checks

Happy Hues/Adobe prepare writing a check

In the era of digital payments, carrying checks is an antiquated practice that poses unnecessary risks. A lost checkbook can be exploited by anyone who finds it.

Embrace more secure and convenient payment methods, and leave the checks at home unless you know you'll specifically need one. Checks in your wallet are a paper trail waiting to happen, and in the wrong hands, it can lead to unauthorized transactions.

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House key

2ragon/Adobe door with golden house key

Your house key is your home's first line of defense. If it gets into the wrong hands, the security of your residence is compromised. Instead of attaching it to your key ring, consider leaving a spare with a trusted friend or neighbor.

If you're prone to losing keys, invest in a secure lockbox at home. Losing your house key isn't just an inconvenience; it's a potential breach of your home's security.

Too much cash

Arsgera/Adobe huge pile of us dollars

While having some cash is prudent, carrying an excessive amount is a needless risk. If your wallet becomes lost or stolen, the monetary loss is not easily recoverable.

Assess your daily spending habits and carry only what you're likely to need. Use cards for larger purchases and keep the cash minimal. Too much cash in your wallet is not just a financial risk but also a temptation for opportunistic theft.

Business cards you don't use

Arafat/Adobe business card design template

While networking is essential, carrying around a stack of business cards you never use is counterproductive. Only keep cards you genuinely intend to use or share. 

This not only declutters your wallet but ensures that when you do exchange cards, it's a meaningful connection.

Business cards contain contact details for potential professional connections. Be selective about which ones you carry to protect other people's personal contact information.

Receipts

Elenathewise/Adobe long pile of sale recepeipts at table

Receipts may seem harmless, but an accumulation in your wallet can lead to clutter and compromise your financial privacy. Receipts often contain sensitive information, which can be exploited if lost.

Make it a habit to clear receipts regularly, shredding those containing personal details. Receipts in your wallet are a potential source of financial leakage, so keeping them secure is key to your privacy.

Birth certificate

Lane Erickson/Adobe birth certificate for live baby born

Your birth certificate is a vital record that should be stored securely at home. Its presence in your wallet exposes it to unnecessary wear and tear, and in case of loss or theft, it opens avenues for identity theft.

Use a secure storage option at home for such essential documents. Your birth certificate isn't just a record of your existence; it's a cornerstone of your identity.

Library or gym card

Mladen/Adobe checking at gym

Unless you’re checking out books at the library and hitting the gym daily, the presence of a library or gym card in your wallet clutters space. Only carry them when you know you'll be using them.

Library or gym cards are the access points to your leisure and fitness, and carrying them selectively ensures you don't add unnecessary bulk to your wallet and that no one takes advantage of using your memberships.

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Unnecessary personal information

deagreez/Adobe writing pen plan list

Items like a list of passwords, PINs, or your Social Security number written down are a disaster waiting to happen.

Memorize such information or keep it in a secure, non-portable location at home. Having it in your wallet is an open invitation to identity theft. Your personal information isn't just data; it's the key to your digital identity, and securing it protects your online presence.

Blank checks

Johanna Goodyear/Adobe blank check

Carrying blank checks is akin to providing a thief with a signed, blank check for your account. The checks can be used maliciously if your wallet is lost or stolen.

Leave them at home in a secure location, and only carry a check when you intend to use it. Blank checks aren't just paper; they're potential financial instruments. Securing them helps make sure you're not providing an easy route to unauthorized transactions.

Medicare card

Jon Anders Wiken/Adobe medicare health insurance card

Your Medicare card is a valuable document containing personal information. Unless you're heading to a medical appointment, there's no reason for it to be in your wallet daily. Keep it securely at home, and only carry it when needed for healthcare purposes.

Your Medicare card isn't just a health card; it's also a portal to your medical history, and keeping it secure protects your personal health information.

Multiple gift cards

Antonioguillem/Adobe shopper buying online with multiple credit cards

Gift cards are convenient, but a wallet full of them is unnecessary. Select a few you're likely to use soon and leave the rest at home.

Carrying too many increases the risk of loss and makes it challenging to track the balances on each. Gift cards act as credits for future purchases, and managing them wisely helps you get the most out of each.

Paper passwords

Cuong/Adobe easy password concept

Writing down passwords on a piece of paper is a security risk. If your wallet is lost or stolen, it's an easy gateway to your digital accounts.

Invest in a secure digital password manager and avoid the vulnerability of physical records. Your passwords are the keys to your digital kingdom. You should avoid compromising your online security as much as possible.

Too many credit cards

Visual Content/Adobe credit card closeup

A plethora of credit cards in your wallet is a recipe for financial chaos. Each card increases the risk of loss, theft, or unauthorized use.

Streamline your wallet by carrying only the best credit cards you regularly use. It reduces risk and makes it easier to monitor your spending and manage your accounts. Your credit cards are a financial lifeline, and protecting them safeguards your financial reputation.

Bottom line

vegefox.com/Adobe wallet broke

Streamlining your wallet is about more than just security; it's about reclaiming your financial peace of mind. Every unnecessary receipt or outdated ID discarded is a weight lifted from your shoulders. 

Embrace the simplicity of carrying only the essentials, and discover the liberating feeling of knowing your personal fortress is under your control.

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Author Details

Adam Palasciano Adam Palasciano is a personal finance-obsessed and money-savvy individual who loves to hash out content on all things saving money. He specializes in writing millennial-friendly personal finance content, covering topics ranging from trending financial news, debt, credit cards, cryptocurrency, and more.

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