17 Things You Should Never Carry in Your Wallet

Let’s be real — when was the last time you went through your wallet and got rid of anything unnecessary? It’s important to know if you’re carrying items with you every day that could put you at risk. Click to discover the 17 things you should never keep in your wallet, helping you minimize the risk of identity theft, financial loss, and other issues.

Social Security Card

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If you carry around your Social Security card, you’re at risk of identity theft if you lose your wallet or it gets stolen. There’s plenty of sensitive information on the card that can be misused by criminals to take out credit or open fraudulent accounts. Consider storing your card in a secure location instead. Identity theft cost Americans $43 billion in 2023 — don’t add to it!

Excess Cash

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Storing a small amount of cash in your wallet can be handy, but it’s best not to walk around with it in excess. If your wallet goes missing, you’ll take a larger financial hit, and if people know you carry a lot of cash it makes you a target for theft. Investopedia advises that you only carry $100-$300 in your wallet at a time.

Password Cheat Sheets

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Placing a password cheat sheet in your wallet is never a good idea because if the wrong person gets their hands on it, then your accounts can be hacked. This can lead to identity theft, fraud, and potential access to your financial accounts. Avoid carrying around PINs and passwords, and use a digital password manager instead.

Blank Checks

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If someone finds your wallet and blank checks are inside, you become vulnerable to fraud. As stated by Smart Capital Mind, a blank check “grants the recipient the authority to fill in any sum they desire,” which they can then cash. You should instead store your checks securely at home or opt for electronic transactions where possible.

Your Phone

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Some wallets are large enough to store phones inside, and some phone cases double up as wallets. It isn’t a good idea to combine the two, because if one goes missing or is stolen, you lose both items. Losing your phone along with your wallet also makes it harder to report your stolen cards. Keep them separate if possible.

Excess Credit Cards

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To be safe, it’s best to carry only what you need with you. Storing all of your bank cards in your wallet is risky and makes things more complicated in the event of it going missing. Check your wallet before you go out and leave the cards you don’t need behind.

Important Receipts

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Much like the other things we’ve listed so far, storing important receipts in your wallet becomes a problem if it is stolen/lost. Not only can receipts contain partial card numbers and personal information, but you may have been holding on to the receipt to return something that you won’t be able to anymore. Be sure to regularly clear out unneeded receipts.

Medicare Card

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Your Medicare card contains personal information about you, so if it ends up in the wrong hands, you become vulnerable to medical identity theft. According to the OIG, your Medicare number can be used to “obtain medical care, buy drugs, or submit fake billings to Medicare in your name.” Carry the card only when necessary and otherwise store it somewhere secure.

Membership Cards

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Membership cards may contain personal information like your name, date of birth, email address, and maybe even your home address. It’s best to only carry these cards around when you plan to use them, otherwise, you’re increasing your risk of identity theft if your wallet goes missing.

USB Drives

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You may consider your wallet a safe space to store small items you don’t want to lose, but if it gets stolen, you’re facing disaster. USBs can contain personal, sensitive data—or even things you’ve worked really hard on that you don’t want to lose. It’s best to keep USB drives separate from your wallet or forgo them completely and use secure cloud storage instead.

Passport and Birth Certificate

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This might go without saying, but carrying your passport and birth certificate around in your wallet is probably not the best idea. These are high-value items for identity thieves and losing them would be a real disaster, especially considering how difficult they can be to replace. Carry them only when necessary.

House Key

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Always keep your house key (and car key for that matter) separate from your wallet. If your wallet goes missing with your key inside, the risk of your home being burgled increases, especially if your address is listed on something else inside your wallet. Not to mention, you’ll struggle getting back into your own home without the key!

Work ID Card

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Losing your work ID card can create a potential security risk for your workplace and could land you in hot water with your employers. Security Intelligence says, “Attackers can duplicate the cards. Magnetic strips can easily be cloned.” The ID card may also contain your personal details, which you don’t want to end up in the wrong hands.

Gift Cards

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While perhaps not as devastating as losing cash, gift cards also hold monetary value, and it would be disappointing for them to go missing when you could have stored them safely at home. Instead of carrying them in your wallet all the time, only bring them with you when you plan to use them.

COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card

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You may not need one anymore, but you could still be carrying around a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card in your wallet without realizing it. It’s best to leave this safely at home and only carry it with you if needed, as it contains your personal information and could put you at risk for identity theft if it goes missing.

Library Card

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This will likely cause you more inconvenience than it will turn out to be dangerous if lost, but it’s still best not to store your library card in your wallet unless you use it very frequently. The card likely contains some of your personal information, and someone else could use it to borrow books in your name, potentially incurring fines.

Excessive Business Cards

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If you make it a habit to accept people’s business cards, store them at home or at the office instead of in your wallet. Too many cards will clutter your wallet and take up a lot of space. And if your wallet gets lost or stolen, you may lose important contact details. Consider storing people’s information digitally instead!

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