There comes a time in every guy’s life when he needs to decide who he is: the kind of guy who carries around a giant, ungainly wad of old receipts in his pants all the time OR the kind of guy interested in carrying his most valuable possessions in a more minimal and understated way? Chances are that if you’re reading this review, you’re in the minimalist camp. And if you’re not, get ready.
Bankr | Minimalism on Display
The Bankr Stack slim wallet for men is a minimalist wallet designed with a passion for the minimal. It takes the very idea of the wallet and strips it down to bare essentials: two plates held together by a stretchy elastic band. That’s pretty much it. Imagine that Apple set out to redefine the wallet, and this is something like what you’d get. The result is a beautifully designed wallet with good performance, but not without a few trade offs.
Read on for the full review.
Even for a minimalist wallet, carrying capacity is essential. Bankr claims that the Stack can expand to hold up to 15 cards, so I raided my junk drawer for expired credit cards and faded student IDs to test it out. As promised, it can hold that many cards, but sliding them in and out at that point gets extremely difficult.
I found that the ideal number of cards is about 6, depending on how easy you want it to be to pop your cards in and out. If you want to effortlessly slide out a card to impress your client or a date while picking up a check, I’d say go with even fewer, maybe 4 or 5.
So it should be said that the Stack does lack a bit in the way of capacity, but if you’re committed to the minimalist lifestyle, this shouldn’t be such a big deal. Part of owning a minimalist wallet means that you plan and bring along only what you need: ID, credit cards, gym card, etc. You don’t bring along that Chipotle gift card your coworker gave you for Christmas on the off-chance that one day you might be at the Chipotle AND remember to use it. If you’re that kind of guy, the Stack is definitely not for you.
To help push cards in and out of the Stack easily, there’s an indented area on one side of the wallet. This allows you to get some nice thumb action on your cards for quick checking and retrieval.
The only possible downside to this thoughtful access point is that the side with the indentation comes without a supplementary piece of elastic to stop cards from sliding all the way through, which some other minimalist wallets have. Still, a few test shakes and pulls of the elastic band t while the wallet held a few cards didn’t result in any card slippage through the top.
Removable Cash Clip
The Stack also comes with a free removable cash clip, which they claim can hold up to 20 bills. I didn’t test this, so I’ll take them at their word. (Not that many bills lying around in my junk drawer, I’m afraid.)
Overall, the idea of a removable cash clip is a nice thought because many of us don’t always carry cash and it’s nice to be able to scale up and down as needed. Unfortunately, in terms of execution, it leaves something to be desired. The clip slides cleanly in and out of the wallet, which is great, but this also makes it come off easily when you actually try to put money in it. To get around this, you have to hold the cash clip in place when you’re putting your money back into it, which is… a bit annoying.
Added RFID Security
For everyone worried about security, the Stack is made of solid aluminum which is often considered the best RFID-blocking material. I didn’t have any way to test this, as I’m not in the business of stealing people’s info through their wallets, but I think that this is a nice feature to have nonetheless. Other reviewers have pointed out that RFID crime is rare and that this feature is superfluous. And they might be right, but it’s better to be safe than find yourself on hold for hours with your credit card company’s fraud department.
Size / Dimensions
In terms of size, the Stack cuts a sleek figure, a bit larger than the dimensions of a credit card with a 9mm profile while empty. Even with a few cards in it, it fits cleanly and unobtrusively in your front pocket, and could also sit comfortably in just about any pocket in a suit jacket as well.
Material and Colors
The Stack’s solid aluminum body feels smooth and cool in your hand. Think of a look and feel similar to that polished metal texture you get with Apple products. Along the smooth lines on the bottom of the wallet, there are beveled edges that allow cards to slide in and out with ease, further showing off the body’s nice metallic sheen.
The Stack also comes in a bunch of colors and limited-edition patterns, so you’re likely to find something to fit your style. Beyond the classic black matte, you’ll find more shiny variations in colors like brushed gold or gunmetal, and there are even designs featuring pictures of currency, which is great if you’re the kind of guy who loves to flash his money around.
The wallet is essentially two metal plates connected with an elastic band, so it’s durability really comes down to the strength of these three components.
Bankr claims the Stack’s aluminum metal plates are made with “space-grade” aluminum. This sounds great, but I’m also at a loss for that really means. Does it mean this wallet is can resist a meteor shower? Gamma radiation? Solar flares? No idea. But the aluminum plates do feel very sturdy. You’d have a hard time putting a dent in them.
The elastic band holding everything together is made with a “premium stretch-weave”. Tugging at it, it comes off as strong and firm despite the fact that it’s connected without any screws. Whatever holds everything together is tucked away deep inside the aluminum plates themselves, out of sight. This makes the idea of repairing the elastic band daunting if it ever breaks for some reason. However, as a nice bit of reassurance, the Stack comes with a lifetime guarantee.
If you want a minimal and stylish way to carry your most essential cards around, then the Bankr Stack’s combination of durability, accessibility, and elegant design make it a good choice. However, guys who carry around cash a lot might consider another wallet. You can carry around money with the Stack, but in the end, it excels most as a minimal card holder.
Bankr Slim Wallet Alternatives
If you think that the Stack is cool, but still isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, here are a few more minimalist wallets to consider.
This wallet has more of a rugged, outdoorsy vibe, with exposed screws and materials like titanium and carbon as well as aluminum (all RFID-blocking materials). The brand’s logo even features the twin peaks of a mountain ridge.
Unlike the Stack, The Ridge features an integrated money clip so you can move bills in and out without having to support the clip. This bit of added convenience is nice, but the money clip also comes engraved with a second Ridge logo on it, which could be seen as a bit overkill in the branding department.
Accessibility with The Ridge is also slightly different compared to the Stack. The indentation for pushing cards out is oriented to the left side, favoring your index finger to move the cards instead of your thumb. It also comes with an elastic backstop on one side of the card slot to prevent cards from sliding through.
Read our complete Ridge Wallet Review.
The Dango Dapper
This wallet is a hybrid through and through. Design-wise, it’s a steampunk enthusiast’s dream where leather meets machine. One side boasts genuine leather accented with silver studs, while the other side has a clean mechanical feel, all held together by a silicone strap.
Functionally, this wallet is a hybrid, too, with 2 chambers for cards. The front chamber has a side-oriented indentation for securing 4 cards, while he back uses a middle indentation to hold 8 cards. And the silicon strap holding it all together doubles as a money clip!
Of course, while giving you lots of options, the Dapper also loses the sleek profile of the Stack and pushes the idea of a minimalist wallet to its bulky limit.
The Prestige from Fidelo
The woven carbon fiber body of this minimalist wallet only comes in black, but allows you to choose bill fold bands in 4 different colors so that you change up your style. There’s also a durability and playfulness that comes with the woven texture of the carbon fibers.
However, what sets this wallet apart the most is its accessibility. Unlike all the other wallets mentioned in this review, the Prestige has a portrait orientation, so you load and unload your cards the same way you would while using an ATM or inserting your credit card for chip payment. This is a nice change of pace from other wallets, but might make it hard to identify your cards on the fly, especially if they are similar colors.