Pretty much everyone knows the Capital One,”What’s in your Wallet?” slogan – but why is it so effective? And what are common things found in a wallet anyway?
We’ll go through those below, in fact we will list things found in a wallet, and we’ll talk about some less common items you might like to keep in your wallet too.
We’ll come back to all those, but first let’s talk about those commercials.
What’s In Your Wallet? The Capital One Commercials
First things first.
Obviously the question isn’t really a literal one. We can easily give a list of common things found in a wallet (and we will, later in this article) but the slogan is touching something deeper.
What does the slogan “What’s in Your Wallet” mean?
For years, a man’s wallet has been one of those status markers like a pricey watch.
A well-made bifold in high-quality leather has gravitas baby!
But more than that, the implication is that what’s in your wallet says a lot about who you are – power, status, your place in society. Very specifically – do you have a meaningful credit card in there?
Again – it’s not even about the card, its about what it says about you. Pulling a Platinum AMEX out of that classy leather bifold says something quite different to pulling out a lower-tier card. So Capital One is playing into this and trying to get people to associate their brand with – what?
A quick glance through their ad history gives an answer. They aren’t trying to go for the highest-end market, they are selling value. The ads all touch on rewards points, cashback, getting value out of the card.
Frankly we think this makes a lot of sense. As most credit cards can be used pretty much interchangeably, they have to distinguish themselves from the pack somehow.
When Did Capital One Start Making The What’s In Your Wallet Commercials?
They started using this slogan (and trademarked it, of course) way back in the year 2000. Clearly, its been a huge success (it would have been retired a long time ago if not!) and gets quoted all over the place.
Who’s The What’s In Your Wallet Guy?
A bunch of men and women have appeared in these commercials, including Jennifer Garner, Charles Barkley, and even Kermit and Miss Piggy!
But the person you’re most likely thinking of is Samuel L. Jackson, who rather famously referred to himself as the “What’s in your wallet, black guy” when a reporter confused him with Laurence Fishburne.
OK, enough distractions. Let’s move on to why you’re really here.
What Are The Things You Most Commonly Find in a Wallet?
Obviously, to some degree this list would change depending on the type of wallet we’re talking about here. Going a bit deeper, the stuff we carry in our wallets offers a little sneak peek into who we are. In addition to simply carrying around our money, we utilize our wallets to bring important docs, cards and other things that are just important to us.
Divided by “type”, we can split the items most frequently carried in a wallet into various groups:
Personal Documents or Paperwork
- Your Contact Details: This is a no-brainer. Having your contact-info clearly noticeable somewhere in your wallet can be a lifesaver. This info will allow a kind human who finds your lost wallet to actually return it to you if it comes up missing.
- Your Emergency Contact Details: This can be a literal lifesaver in an emergency. It’s a really good idea to have an emergency contact card with the name and number of who to call if you get into an accident. This should also have your blood type, any medical conditions, and any allergies clearly listed. Note: you can also store these on your phone and EMTs are trained to know how to access that information from common phones (iPhones/Android devices).
- Personal Identification: In most places, you need to have some way to identify yourself if you’re interacting with any “official” person. Because of this, the majority of wallet makers put a clear ID window in your wallet so you can easily display your license, state-issued ID card, military ID.
- Your Drivers’ License: It goes without saying: If you drive a car, you have to have your license with you. Obviously, a wallet is the perfect place to keep your driver’s license safe and secure.
- Your school or library card: If you’re a big reader or a student, you most likely have a library card. You never know when you’ll need to pop into your local library (or school library), so keep them in your wallet.
- Gym/club membership card: If you like to work out, you’re probably a member at your local gym. In order to get into the gym, you’ll have to scan (or show) your membership card.
- Your Cash: Arguably, the most important job that your wallet has is to keep your money safe. Even as society becomes more and more cashless, there will always be some places that don’t accept cards, or have a minimum charge to use them. That’s one of the main reasons we don’t think wallets are going to be obsolete any time soon.
- Credit and/or debit cards: Pretty much everyone you know has at least a few cards they carry with them (credit and debit). Whether around town or traveling, it makes sense to carry a few of these cards in your wallet because you never know when you’ll need them. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
- Insurance cards: Whether medical or auto, it’s always wise to bring your insurance cards with you. They’re there for unexpected situations, which is why keeping them in your wallet makes perfect sense.
Other Random Belongings
- Gift cards: What we’ve found with gift cards is this – if you don’t carry them around with you, you’ll ALWAYS forget to use them before they expire. Now, we’re not saying you have to carry every single gift card you own, but things like Starbucks make perfect sense. You never know when you’ll be out and about and want a coffee, right?
- Reward cards: Some carry these, some don’t. Admittedly, most places store your phone number nowadays.
- Stamps: When you need a stamp, you need a stamp. It might be a rarity, but you’ll definitely thank yourself for having an extra stamp (or two) when you or a friend needs to mail something.
- Coupons: Similar to the gift cards above, you never know when you’ll be out and about and need to use one of these coupons. Again, don’t take every single coupon you own, but it makes sense to bring a “buy one get one free” to Smoothie King, because who doesn’t want a smoothie?
- Important receipts: Don’t keep every receipt you own, but at least be mindful of the important ones. This is especially important if you’re trying something out before you make your final decision on whether or not to keep it.
- Actual photographs: Nowadays, most of our photos are on our phones, but hey, some people are nostalgic. It’s not uncommon to carry around a physical photo (or two) of loved ones.
- Special things: Whether it’s a special coin or token, lots of people have those items they carry around for comfort or for luck. Getting the right size wallet can make all the difference when you want to carry something like this.
What Are Some Unique Items to Carry In Your Wallet?
OK, let’s move on. We’ve covered all the common things people carry in their wallets, and then we went on to some of the less common. Now, what other things could we carry in our wallets? I mean, we’re carrying them anyway, right? So here are a few of the more “fun” things you could carry in your wallet (NOTE: these make great stocking stuffer gifts also):
A Flashlight Card
We’ve all been there. You dropped something and it’s too dark to see where it went. If only you had a flashlight to help you see… Well, here you go.
This extremely helpful credit card-sized flashlight will illuminate your life and also see to it you can locate your lost stuff easily and quickly! It’s great to have for roadside emergency situations or for just searching for something in a dark movie theater.
Obviously most phones have flashlights these days, but its good to have a backup that won’t run down your phone battery if the power is out …
With this cool little “card-light”, you will constantly have a light right at your fingertips. It’s been ingeniously developed to fit well right into an extra card slot in your wallet, you won’t even know it’s there.
Ultra-Portable Phone Charger
Raise your hand if your phone has ever run out of battery. Now that everyone’s hand is raised, let’s check out the solution for that!
This slim battery pack will give you one extra burst of juice for a dying phone. It will charge a smaller phone completely once, or a larger phone (say an iPhone Plus) about 80%. A perfect “extra” to carry in your wallet that’s hugely practical!
Victorinox Swisscard Lite Credit Card Multitool
The Swisscard from Victorinox (makers of the famous Swiss Army Knife) is a great multi-purpose tool that fits into a standard credit card slot. The utilities are made from stainless steel and they offer a lifetime warranty against defects (note – the case has a two year warranty
Its features include:
- A removable emergency blade (its small, really more of a letter opener, but remember to remove this before going through airport security!)
- Magnifying glass
- Screwdrivers (two flatheads, two Philips)
- LED light
- Ballpoint pen
- Pin (Pro tip: magnetize this for a makeshift compass!)
- Ruler (in Centimeters and Inches)
We love this for its “you never know when you’ll need this, but you’ll be glad when you did” features.
Pocket (well, Wallet) Knife
If you’re the type who likes to always be prepared for any eventuality, then you likely already carry a pocket knife of some kind, whether its for camping/breakdown emergencies or simply to help get tough packages open. But what if you want something you can carry and forget? Enter the Holtzman credit card knife in stainless steel!
This one is kind of random, but we’ve all been in a situation where we wish we had cutlery. Whether you just got take out and they forgot to include flatware or you’re camping and just forgot to pack extra silverware (well, ok, stainless steel & aluminum) — this card flatware won’t let you down.
Fitting neatly in your wallet, simply press on the card to remove the items and easily use them.
Before You Go…
Hopefully we’ve given you some good ideas with this article, whether its a perspective on what’s the minimum you can carry in your wallet or a few ideas for the perfect addition to make your wallet your own.
But there are really good reasons for slimming down your wallet, not least of which is your posture if you store it in your back pocket! Take a look at our next article, it might surprise you…
- The 9 Kinds of Wallets
- The Guide to Men’s Accessories (And Getting Them Right!)
- Do RFID Wallets Work?
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