10 best men’s card holders: Get rid of your bulky wallet

Keep your money and receipts in order with one of these must-have accessories

Luke Todd
Thursday 18 June 2020 12:30
We tested their ability to organise essentials, take a beating at the bottom of a bag and general appearance
We tested their ability to organise essentials, take a beating at the bottom of a bag and general appearance

We devote a great deal of time to thinking about how we're going to spend our money, but rarely do we pay enough attention to how we carry it around.

Though it might not seem like the most important accessory, a wallet can have a big impact on your daily life. Get it right, and every transaction is a breeze. Get it wrong, and you become that guy, fumbling with expired train tickets and old receipts at the checkout.

Depending on how you invest, it can also play a part in the success of your overall outfit.

“There are few quicker ways to torpedo a look than by stuffing a bulging wallet into your pocket,” says celebrity stylist Sarah Ann Murray.

“A cardholder is life's natural filter, ensuring you only carry with you what you need. And they have the added benefit of being slim enough not to ruin the lines of your trousers or weigh down one side of a jacket.”

A streamlined version of the classic billfold, a sleek cardholder gives you easy access to IDs, bank cards and commuter passes, while still leaving enough space to stash a little cash.

Ready to put your money where your, well, money is? We’ve searched for the best cardholders for men – each tested for their ability to organise the essentials, take a beating at the bottom of a bag and generally look good. These are the 10 best that made the cut.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Smythson Panama card holder

Just because a wallet spends most of its time hidden from sight, doesn't mean you should let your sartorial standards slip. Smythson's Panama cardholder comes in 11 different colours (we liked the navy) and has two slots on either side plus a middle one. It's produced from the same hard-wearing cross grain leather as the brand's famous notebooks; meaning it can be bent, bashed and folded without getting damaged. Now that's a financial statement we enjoy.

Boss leather card case with money clip

If physical cash isn't just something you use when playing Monopoly don't worry, cardholders aren't completely off the table. On the front of the leather holder, it has two spaces for cards, as well as one in the middle, so not as many as some others. But if you feel like you always need at least some form of cash no you, this is is the one for you, as the back features a brass money clip on the reverse, so you can safely stow a few notes.

Coach metropolitan leather card case

While ultimately a functional item, there's no rule to say that a cardholder can't be the focal point of an outfit. This card case by US brand Coach is a subtle way to inject some energy into your look. Coming in a bright shade of yellow which the band calls pollen, it features three slots on each side, plus a middle one too, so you can fit in more cards, if you need. It’s also finished with premium touches like sleek metal branding and reinforced tonal stitching.

Herschel Supply Co Charlie wallet

Family-run Canadian firm Herschel Supply Co specialises in affordable accessories inspired by mountaineering gear, so uou know its cardholder is a safe pair of hands for your MVPs. Don't let the price fool you, though as it's still well made from a robust ballistic weave, meaning it'll last more than just a few paydays. With two slots per side and a top slot, we really like that it utilises RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to block signals and prevent data theft.

Mulberry full-grain leather cardholder

Mulberry's classic clipper weekennd holdall is the ultimate travel companion, but it also costs about the same as a weekend away, too. To buy into the brand without feeling like you'll have problems paying your next month's rent, start with this cardholder. Great for when you only need the essentials, it's cut from full-grain leather that'll resist scratches and scuffs and comes fitted with four external slots and a central compartment.

Acne Studios azro plaque face strap cardholder

Like sunglasses at BBQs and umbrellas in the back of cabs, leaving your wallet at a bar or on a hotel nightstand is a part of life. With this cardholder, though, the risk is minimised, thansk to the detatchable cord so you can wear it around your neck. Made from ripstop fabric, it's also durable too and features three slots on the front, which is enough to make money management easy.

Sandro saffiano leather zipper cardholder

Rendered in textured saffiano leather, this ultra-sleek cardholder has enough slots to comfortably hold up six cards, plus an expanding central compartment for a few notes and even a picture of your dog, should you wish. This is also the only card holder on the list with a zip, so if you always end up with a few loose coins, this holder is perfect – all while still remaining slim enough to fit in your pocket.

Comme des Garcons super fluo neon leather cardholder

Comme des Garçons' cardholder may be small in size, but it's big on impact. It's one of the most colourful ways to cart your plastic about town, and the slightly larger bi-fold design – more reminiscent of a traditional wallet – is crafted from blue Spanish leather and opens to red and neon-green card slots hallmarked with a gold-foiled logo.

Matt and Nat Max card holder

There was a time when “vegan accessories” meant throwing your stuff in a hemp sack. Fortunately, things have moved on since then and the faux leather used on Matt & Nat's Max cardholder is just as tactile as the real deal. Plus, with four exterior card slots (the back ones are vertical rather than horizontal) and a centre compartment, it packs more than enough space. Say goodbye to your bulging back pocket and hello to a clean conscience.

Brooks Brothers American alligator card case

Brooks Brothers is the oldest (and probably most famous) American clothing company still in existence, so it's fair to assume it knows a thing or two about style. For proof, just take a look at the brand's cardholder. Crafted from authentic American alligator and lined in calfskin, it's the perfect choice if you want to look a bit swish when settling the bill.

The verdict: Men’s cardholders

The initial cost might mean you have slightly less money to put inside it at first, but for a wallet that’ll pay dividends, Smythson's Panama cardholder is hard to beat. If you're looking for something a little lighter on the pocket, Herschel Supply Co's Charlie wallet is a wise investment.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.