We live in a time where people can access a surprising and alarming amount of information about our personal and financial lives with only a few critical details about us. You can find many of these details in your wallet, and so can others. That is why it is best to be cautious about the things you keep on you or carry with you.
This guide will help you recognize the things you should keep in your wallet, the things you want to keep securely elsewhere, and the things you might want to digitize for safe keeping.
What to Keep
Many of us live our lives on the go these days and prefer to have the things we are most likely to need at our fingertips at all times. However, that convenience isn’t always wise. Discover recommends keeping a few essential items in your wallet and leaving other items secured safely elsewhere. Among the items Discover recommends carrying around with you, are the following:
- Cash. While most people rely heavily on credit cards, it is rarely a bad idea to have some cash on hand for emergencies or the rare vendor that does not accept plastic.
- Two credit cards. While you want to keep your primary credit card in your wallet at all times, it is also a good idea to have a backup handy in case there is a technical glitch, or a particular retailer doesn’t accept your specific card.
- Debit card from your bank. That is essential for people who prefer to spend from their checking or savings rather than relying on credit. It also helps you pay your normal bills and for retail purchases.
- Identification with your current address. Not only is it legally required in many states, but it is also helpful in confirming your identity when using credit or debit cards and in countless other situations.
- Emergency contact information. Mainly because you never know what is going to happen and you want to make sure the right people are notified if something happens to you.
- Medications and/or allergies list. If you require special medical attention that you may be unable to provide for yourself, keep instructions in your wallet.
- Insurance cards. Also, because you never know what is going to happen and you do not want to have to search for this information if you are in an accident, pulled over for speeding, or need emergency medical attention while on-the-go.
These are the essentials you want to have in your wallet at all times so that you have your bases covered when life goes sideways and to ensure smooth sailing otherwise.
What Not to Keep
There are also several things you do not want to keep in your wallet. Wallets are a notorious collection point for a surprising amount of revealing information about you and your family. From photographs of your children to identifying information about you. The fewer of the following items you carry in your wallet, the better. Although ideally, you will not carry the following:
- Social Security card
- Birth certificate
- Personal photographs (self, children, home, etc.)
- Spare house or car keys
- Passwords or lists of passwords
- Blank checks
The idea is that if you meet up with a pickpocket, or lose your wallet, you want the thief or person who finds it to have as little identifying information about you as possible.
It just so happens that most people today are far more security minded when it comes to mobile phones and cellular devices than they are about their wallets. Many of the items you may carry with you can be transferred to digital wallets and stored on your password, fingerprint, or retinal scan-secured, mobile devices.
That includes credit card information, passwords to various devices and websites, and family photographs. Keep these items securely locked away from the world by keeping them out of your wallet.
What to Do if it is Stolen
Once upon a time, a stolen wallet was only a matter of missing money and the hassle of canceling a few credit cards. Today, however, it can be the beginning of a long, drawn-out, nightmare of identity theft and red tape. If your wallet gets stolen there are several things you need to do right away:
- File a police report. Provide as many details as possible about the event, location, and circumstances of your stolen wallet.
- Report and replace the items that were in your wallet. That includes credit and debit cards as well as personal identification, like your driver’s license or state-issued identification. If you had paper checks in your wallet, you will need to notify your bank about these as well, providing check numbers of the missing checks and a list of outstanding checks you may have written that they should honor.
- Notify your insurance providers. Request replacement cards from them as well.
- The cash is typically a loss. It is one of the reasons people carry so little around with them these days. However, it is still a good idea to carry some cash whenever possible.
The better you understand the things you need in your wallet; the better-informed decisions you can make about the items you choose to keep in your wallet. These tips should help.