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I bought a box wallet, do I recommend it?

About 3 months ago I saw a video on YouTube. The video started with a paid commercial of Ekster, a company that sells wallets, and they presented a rather strange wallet: it was a metal box with a band around it and the upper base open to insert the cards in it; in the lower base there was a button that when pressed pushes all the cards and displays them in a cascade, while the cash goes folded and pressed by the band.

The design caught my attention and I decided to (make the mistake of…?) do some research. I found a YouTube channel called Walletopia, there I fell into the dark world of wallets, which led me to buy the Fidelo Slim Box Wallet, and have several others on my wish list.

What is a box wallet?

From what I have discovered, in the world of wallets there are several categories depending on the type, size and special functions of the wallet. Some of these categories are:

  • Bifold: The classic one that you got for your birthday, folds in half and has spaces for cards and cash
  • Trifold: The same that folds twice.
  • Slim: These are thin wallets, designed for the minimalist user who does not want to carry too many cards or cash, they are usually thinner than the previous ones.

This last category includes box wallets, small metal or plastic boxes with a mechanism to extract cards. Some are accompanied by clips, elastic bands or even leather linings, while others are just a hollow parallelepiped.

The Fidelo Slim Wallet 3 in 1

After watching many videos I decided to buy the Fidelo Slim Wallet 3 in 1, which is quite affordable on Amazon at $30, compared to the Ekster which is over $70.If I realize this is not for me, at least I didn’t spend that much money.

The Fidelo 3 in 1 is composed of the wallet itself, a synthetic leather lining and the elastic bands, that’s why it is 3 in 1: you can use just the case, with band or with the lining. However, because I didn’t read well, I accidentally bought the version that doesn’t include the lining, only the case and some bands. Although I wanted the full version, it served me well to try the most minimalist experience possible.

The wallet has a capacity of 7 cards. In my experience I can fit up to 8 cards without embossing, and up to 6 with one or two embossed cards. The bills can be placed with the help of the included elastic bands and I have managed to fit up to 8 or 9 folded bills at the cost of a much larger bulk. I usually carry 3 to 4 folded bills, although if you are going to use this type of wallet you should reduce your cash usage as much as possible.

As you can imagine there is no room for coins or secret compartments. This is a good thing for me, as one of my bad habits was to put all the money, coins and tickets included, balled up in the wallet, which caused not only bulges, but also deformities in the wallet that eventually caused irreparable damage.

To remove the cards you have to press a button in the bottom corner, when you do so the cards are displayed at the top in a cascading fashion, so it’s easy to take the one you want. However, I must say that the button is quite hard, I have to use my thumb because with the other fingers it is very difficult or impossible.

Quality wise, it feels like a $30 product. The case is plastic and it took a couple of days for it to start peeling off the corners and edges. The cards inside clearly have slight wear from the constant sliding action, such wear is seen on the edges of the cards, stains and slight color fading. In the time I have been using it, one of the 4 bands included and the one I have been using all this time is threatening to break, so I replaced it with another one, but it makes me doubt how long the bands will last. Maybe if I had invested more money these problems would not exist.

The experience

I must say that the experience of using this type of wallet is quite pleasant. Paying in the store with my credit card is even a fun experience. The wallet takes up very little space in my pants compared to the bifold wallets I have traditionally used and I don’t feel like it gets in the way.

However, I must highlight two aspects that are making me question whether I should get a new, more traditional wallet. The first is related to cash. While it is true that I use less and less cash and with that intention I bought this wallet, I still have to carry several bills with me, and bringing them folded is not the most efficient or comfortable, especially if there are many bills. Besides, every time I go to pay I need to take out all the bills making the process cumbersome and, worst of all, dangerous, because I show how much cash I have. This does not happen in a traditional bifold because the bills are hidden.

The second problem is the limited space for the cards. If you only carry two or three debit cards, plus your ID and some points card, you won’t have any problems. Personally, in the last few months I have started to visit more supermarkets and the ones I frequent have point cards that, the problem is that they don’t fit anymore. Add to this business cards and child size photos that I used to carry with me everywhere I go and it is no longer possible. I tried to remedy this by placing a small liner originally for Yu-Gi-Oh cards inside which I inserted some cards and which I carry attached to the wallet with the help of the elastic band. I feel this defeats the original purpose of the minimalist wallet, but it is what it is.

Front of the wallet with some cash on it

Back of the wallet

Front of the wallet with the cards out

Conclusions, do I recommend it?

If you want to get into the world of minimalist wallets, this is a great buy. It allows you to experience the experience without having to shell out a very large amount of money. However, in my personal case, I would not buy it again, as I find I need more space. Fortunately, I have several wallets on my wish list for my next birthday.