1. Home
  2. insider picks
  3. news
  4. The best smart wallets

The best smart wallets

Simon Hill   

The best smart wallets
  • When you need to carry cash, credit cards, and ID a wallet is one of the best ways to do it, but the risk of theft or loss looms large, so consider a smart wallet with features like location tracking and RFID protection.
  • The best smart wallet for most people is the Ekster Parliament in our opinion, but we have several excellent alternatives listed here.
  • If you're content with a plain old regular wallet, then read our guide to the best men's wallets.

Even with mobile payments taking off, most of us still carry credit cards, ID, membership cards, and sometimes even cash around with us. The best way to keep all those things together is to use a wallet. The humble folded leather wallet for cards and cash has seen something of a reinvention of late, with a new wave of smart wallets hitting the market.

You may be wondering why you need your wallet to be smart. Well, what happens when your wallet goes missing? Many smart wallets offer tracking capabilities, so you can get a warning if you leave it behind and track its location on a map on your phone. Another common feature is protection from RFID skimming to prevent criminals from stealing card information.

New smart wallet designs also allow for quick card removal, special compartments, and other extras. I've been testing out various smart wallets, reading up on reviews and user impressions, and compiling a list that includes a smart wallet to suit anyone. These are the best smart wallets, from the feature-packed to the minimalist, with a few that fall somewhere in between.

Before we get started, it's worth noting that you can always buy a tracker, like the Tile Slim or Chipolo Card, and slip it into any of the wallets listed here that lack built-in tracking, any of our picks of the best men's wallets, or any other wallet you like.

Here are the best smart wallets:

The best smart wallet overall

The best smart wallet overall
Simon Hill/INSIDER
The innovative Ekster Parliament combines quick access to cards, location tracking capability, and RFID blocking in a stylish leather finish.

This compact smart wallet has a distinctive look and all the features that most people are likely to want. The premium leather exterior comes in a choice of seven different colors. The first thing you'll likely notice is the trigger mechanism, which pops up the cards in the aluminum cardholder and fans them for quick and easy access to the one you need.

Open the wallet and you'll find two card slots in the cover and an elastic strap for holding notes. The aluminum cardholder has room for four or five cards, blocks RFID signals, and ensures that your cards never get bent. On the back there's an external pocket which is where you'll keep the optional Chipolo tracking card, specially made in partnership with Ekster and bearing the classy Ekster logo.

This tracking card plugs into Chipolo's network of tracking devices, has a range of 200 feet, and works via the Chipolo app for Android or iOS. It's quick and easy to set up an account. The mobile app allows you to ping the tracker card, so it plays a sound to help you find your wallet in a hurry. You can also press the button on the tracker card to ring your phone if you've misplaced it.

Chipolo is a popular tracking service, so it has worldwide coverage. If you can't find your wallet at the last known location on the map, you can mark it as lost, and there's a chance that another Chipolo user could turn up the location. You can also set out of range alerts, so your phone will ping if you leave your wallet behind. There's even support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can ask either voice assistant where your wallet is and have it ring or tell you the last known location.

Of all the smart wallets I've tested, this is the one I keep coming back to. The tracking via Chipolo is handy, as it's a service I already use with my keys, so I can track both items from the same app. The out of range alert has saved me from leaving my wallet in a friend's couch and on a café table. I also love the look of this wallet, but the trigger that pops the cards up is probably my most appreciated feature. No more fumbling to pull a card out of your wallet at the bar or checkout, pull the trigger and there it is.

On the downside, there isn't a lot of room for cash here. I find a single note or two will sit happily behind the strap, but if you have a lot of cash it pushes the cover open and this is already quite a thick wallet. You also have to charge the tracker from time to time. The battery life is around two to three months, depending on how often you use the location features. There's a tiny solar panel on the tracker, so if you remember to occasionally leave it in the sun it stays topped up, but this does require you to remove it from the wallet occasionally.

The Ekster Parliament wallet costs $89.00 and you can add the tracker card for $29.00, making it $118 in total. That may sound pricey for a wallet, but as the best smart wallet you can get, it's worth it. Ekster offers free returns and a one-year warranty.

Pros: Premium leather, quick card access, tracking via Chipolo, RFID protection, strap for cash, compact

Cons: Tracker needs to be charged, quite thick

The best minimalist smart wallet

The best minimalist smart wallet
Simon Hill/INSIDER
When you want to travel light, the Nodus Compact Card wallet is the perfect companion.

For everyday use, most of us don't need a big fat wallet. If you prefer something slim and minimal, the Nodus Compact Card is perfect. The finish is full grain vegetable tanned Italian leather and it comes in four colors. The stylish octopus Nodus logo completes a classy look.

There's a slot for a card or two on each side, with an internal pocket for cash, which also has a key holder notch for a single key. You can fit everything you need for a night out in this compact wallet. It measures just 3.8 inches by 2.5 inches, so it slips easily into any pocket, even if you're wearing skinny jeans.

One side of the wallet is RFID shielded to protect your cards and the other is RFID enabled, so you can pay at contactless terminals without having to take your card out of the wallet at all. Just make sure the shielded side is facing out when you slip this wallet into your pocket, and you're safe from RFID skimming.

Tracking is not part of the package, but you could easily add a Tile Slim or a Chipolo Card into the central pocket if you wanted to.

The Compact Card Wallet is quite expensive at $55. If you like the look of this, but feel you need a bit more room, then check out the Nodus Compact Wallet, as it adds room for more cards and cash. Nodus wallets finally come with a two-year warranty.

Pros: Premium leather, slim, minimalist, RFID shielding, key pocket

Cons: Limited space, no built-in tracking

The best slim smart wallet with tracking

The best slim smart wallet with tracking
Simon Hill/INSIDER
A stylish, traditional-looking, leather, folding wallet, the Nomad Slim Wallet has a hidden pocket with a Tile tracker inside and space for lots of cards.

Fans of the traditional folding leather look will love this smart wallet from Nomad. It's finished in beautiful brown or black leather from Chicago-based tannery, Horween, which dates to 1905. That quality leather is combined with smart tracking via the Tile Slim, which is included in a hidden pocket.

This looks like a classic bifold wallet and has a single exterior pocket on the back. Open it up and you'll find the Nomad and Horween brands embossed in the cover along with four card slots. The other side offers space for another card and maybe a folded bill or two. On closer inspection, there's an elastic liner that can be peeled back to reveal a Tile Slim tracking device inside.

A concealed, stealth pocket is cool, and could conceivably pull double duty for other contents, but it's a particularly smart move for a tracker, because you don't want thieves to notice and discard it.

You'll need the Tile app for Android or iOS to pair with your Tile Slim, but it's very easy to set up. This is the older model of the Tile Slim tracker, which has a 100-foot range and 1-year battery life. There's a button on the center of the Tile Slim that you can double press through the wallet to ring your phone. You can also use the app to ring the Tile Slim and find your wallet, and it has a kind of proximity sensor with concentric circles to give you a visual of how close you are.

The Tile app also shows you the last known location on a map. If you're prepared to pay for a Tile Premium subscription, which is $2.99 per month or $29.99 for the year, you can get geofencing alerts to warn you when you leave your wallet behind somewhere and 30-day location history. Sadly, this Tile Slim model doesn't have a replaceable battery, but you should get a discounted price on a new tracker when your battery runs out through the reTile program. Tile also supports both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can have your wallet or phone ring using Tile with either voice assistant.

This is a gorgeous wallet with enough room to satisfy most people, and I really appreciate the stealth pocket. It looks and feels just like a traditional leather wallet, which is ideal if you'd rather not draw attention and you want to boost your chances of the tracker inside going unnoticed by a thief.

All that's missing here, in the way of common smart wallet features, is RFID shielding. The Nomad Slim Wallet with Tile Tracking is fairly expensive at $79.95, but that includes the Tile Slim tracker. You could also buy just the wallet for $59.95 and add a Chipolo or another tracker instead. Nomad wallets come with a two-year warranty.

Pros: Premium leather, slim design, plenty of space, hidden pocket, Tile Slim tracker included, reasonable price

Cons: No RFID shielding, some Tile features require subscription, can't recharge Tile Slim

The best modular smart wallet

The best modular smart wallet
Simon Hill/INSIDER
Finished in futuristic carbon fiber with a magnetic modular design, the Pitaka MagEZ wallet is truly unique.

If you want your smart wallet to make a statement, then the Pitaka MagEZ wallet is certain to catch your eye. This is an incredibly lightweight magnetic carbon wallet that features a modular design, enabling you to add extra layers for cards, a money clip, or a box for keys or maybe a tracker.

Finished in genuine carbon fiber, this wallet really stands out from the crowd. The first thing you'll notice is that it's very light, weighing in at just 54 grams. The various sections of the wallet are held together with magnets and can slide apart to reveal space to securely store up to six cards. It's quite easy to quickly slide open to the card you need, once you get the hang of it, but it does feel as though the whole wallet is going to come apart at first. You can pull the layers completely apart, as they are only held together by magnets.

Apart from the worry that you may accidentally drop layers trying to open it, which evaporates once you get used to how this wallet works, the magnets also mean you can't use magnetic swipe cards with this wallet. However, chip and PIN, contactless cards, and IDs are fine. There is also RFID shielding to keep your cards safe from skimming.

This is a fun, if slightly strange smart wallet. It is quite boxy, especially if you add extra layers and the hard construction, though very light, isn't the most comfortable thing in your pocket. On the other hand, it ensures that your cards never get bent accidentally.

The standard Pitaka MagEZ wallet comes with space for six cards and costs $80. You can get your name, or some other text engraved on a metal plate on the top layer for an extra $10. Extra layers for cards cost $25 each, the money clip costs $30, and the versatile box layer is $35. It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty.

Pros: Carbon fiber finish, magnetic design, modular system, RFID shielding, sleek and lightweight

Cons: Uncomfortable in pocket, no built-in tracking

The best smart wallet for travel

The best smart wallet for travel
The thoughtfully designed Bellroy Travel Wallet is packing everything you need for a smooth trip.

Travel is stressful and it requires you to have a lot of things at your fingertips. Fumbling to find your passport, local cash, or SIM card to switch in when you touch down is never fun, but the Bellroy Travel Wallet can help. This large wallet holds a passport, cards, cash, and has room for a whole lot more.

Finished in premium leather, which comes in four colors, the Bellroy Travel Wallet looks like an oversized bifold wallet. It measures 5.9 inches by 3.8 inches. Open it up and you'll see that the extra size is to accommodate a passport pocket. The cover has four card slots and in the middle there's a micro pen that's ideal for filling out customs forms, saving you from having to dig into bags.

So far, so standard, what elevates the Bellroy Travel Wallet is the RFID shielding to protect your cards and passport, and the secret compartment hidden under a fold of the leather at the back of the wallet. This compartment runs the length of the wallet, and it's divided into two, so it's ideal for keeping cash in two currencies. The hidden compartment is also the perfect place for a tracker if you decide to add one.

You'll also find three extra card slots and two small pockets specially designed to hold a SIM card and SIM card removal tool. It's often much cheaper to switch SIM cards when you travel for local service, so this is a thoughtful addition.

The Bellroy Travel Wallet is inevitably bigger than your average wallet and so is the price tag, at $119.00, but it's the perfect smart wallet to take on your travels. It comes with a three-year warranty.

Pros: Premium leather, clever design, hidden pocket, RFID protection, micro pen, SIM and SIM tool pockets

Cons: Large, no built-in tracking

What else we considered

What else we considered

There are lots of other smart wallets out there, promising all sorts of extra features like anti-theft cameras, fingerprint sensors, and internal power banks. Sadly, many smart wallets that start life on crowdfunding sites sound great but fail to deliver on their promise.

  • Woolet Woof Glow ($120): With Bluetooth tracking, alerts when you leave it behind, and an LED light, the Woolet Woof Glow is an interesting smart wallet. It also allows you to remotely control your phone to take selfies, record audio, or tag your car's location. It is leather, has space for cards, cash, and coins, and comes with a charging cable. Sadly, user reviews are mixed, and availability seems to be limited.
  • Volterman Smart Wallet ($238): This smart wallet promised so much, with a built-in power bank, distance alarm, global GPS tracking, anti-theft camera, and even Wi-Fi hotspot functionality, but after a successful Indiegogo campaign it was delayed. When it finally shipped, user reviews complained about how thick it is and reported problems with some of the features not working. We've been unable to get a review unit to try this for ourselves.
  • Cashew Wallet ($100): A wallet with its own fingerprint sensor that refuses to open without the owner's fingerprint is an interesting idea. The Cashew Wallet also offers Bluetooth tracking, a buzzer to help you find it, and a rechargeable battery. But, this is another Kickstarter product that suffered delays and garnered disappointed user reviews when it finally shipped.


Popular Right Now