Ask the Strategist: A Very Specific Small Wallet

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Photo: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In our new advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with one of your own — we’re here to help.

Question: Looking to upgrade from my current Velcro wallet to something a little more stylish. My requirements are limited but strict: It must have a zipper pocket for change, and it must be small enough to comfortably fit in a small purse (approximately iPhone-size). Also, it’d be nice if it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. Thanks!

I love the specificity here. Looking into this, though, I noticed that not many wallets these days actually have zipper pockets for change. Still, I was determined, and I’ve come up with a bunch of options that I’ll list for you below. Note that some are for men and some are for women, but I often think that wallets can really go both ways (and who believes in gender anymore anyway?). I’m hoping there’s something for you, and everyone else who stops by to read.

Update: After this post went live we started hearing from people who have wallets they love and can’t live without that also fit this description. We’ve added those reader-approved products below.

Womens

We’ll start with one that I think pretty much meets all of your specifications. This Coach number is a zingy yet muted green metallic, perfect for fall. The interesting thing is that it’s primarily a card case, but it also has a zipper pocket for change and everything else. I love that all-purpose design. While it’s a bit on the longer side, it’s super thin, so it’ll definitely fit into a small purse.

Soon after this post went live a colleague Slacked me about her wallet from a company called Mywalit: “I feel obsessed with this wallet. It has a change zip, exterior card holder, and a clear front for an ID. It fits in women’s pants pockets and it was my perfect college wallet.” She was specifically speaking about the brand’s Small Zip Purse, but above we’ve pictured an even slimmer version that functions like a zippered coin purse with lots of credit card slots. It comes in four color options that are available on Amazon.

Another commenter wrote in with her fave: “I used an MZ Wallace wallet for a decade that fits your criteria perfectly — sadly it no longer comes in the purple leather that mine did, but still super well-made and useful.” We’ve moved that up here to make that comment even more useful.

Another one that’s a bit on the bigger side, but has a nice sizable zipper change pocket and an attractive gray-nubuck-leather outer is on sale right now for over $50 off. I love the bright leather inside, which is a fancy little surprise for you and your credit cards.

best wallets
Photo: Kabir Fernandez

We first discovered this great Baggu square wallet when a Strategist writer found lots of alternatives to her cult-y Comme des Garçons wallet. This one’s the perfect size, like a regular bifold wallet but more feminine, and comes in lots of color options. While the whole thing closes up with a zip, the change pouch has a snap closure. It also comes in a slightly bigger, but still petite, version.

The Comme des Garçons wallet is still interesting and potentially useful to you, though, because while it doesn’t have its own zippered change compartment, it does have a pouch for coins, and the whole thing closes with a zipper. Plus, it’s the best way to get some high-end designer goods for only $67.

This German Vanook leather wallet works like origami to fit lots of useful and varied compartments into a compact space. It comes in black, gray, and dark green, and it’s incredibly attractive. While it’s a bit of a splurge and has a snap change pocket instead of a zippered one, it might be my favorite-looking wallet in the bunch.

Mens

Here’s a splurgy nylon wallet that’s made in Japan and has not one but two zipper pockets. It also comes in a black version, but that one only has one zippered pocket.

This one’s a very stylish, small, light-brown-leather Sandqvist wallet with a zipper pocket for change that’s under $100. Win, win, win! (This company also makes a bifold wallet that comes with a smaller card wallet inside of it, so whoever loves a two-for-one, this is for you.)

If you want to go with the least expensive option, this ASOS piece is only $13, in pebble-black leather, with a striped elastic strap down the back. It’s also got a zip pocket.

Another cheap option from Alpine Swiss with lots of slots and pouches.

Nike makes a half-sporty, half-leather option, for trips to the gym and nights out. It’s an upgrade from Velcro.

We’d love to hear from you. If you have any burning questions, please leave them for us in the comments.

The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best women’s jeans, rolling luggage, bed sheets, coffee makers, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.

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Ask the Strategist: A Very Specific Small Wallet