This question reminds me of the Capital One credit card campaign, but a client put this query to us, and it was one of those questions that made us go “hmmm…”- what IS or perhaps what should we carry in our wallets? So this is the list that we developed:
- Identification– Kind of a necessity
- Health Insurance card or Medicare card/Prescription Drug Plan/Medicare Supplement
- Some cash- your “walking around money”- Some people will have a greater need for cash than others, but if you need to carry a lot of cash- say around $500 or more- you might be better served to use a money belt that goes under your clothing. I use one when I travel, which is an added layer of security, and have only the immediate cash I need accessible- maybe $100- in my wallet or purse.
- Credit cards– not every card you own, but probably a debit card for your bank (in order to get cash), and one or two credit cards. The cards you do not carry with you should be kept someplace safe, like a home safe, lockbox or safe deposit box, where they will be protected from theft, but be available if you need them. Speaking of credit cards:
- I personally do not use department store cards, except for a Lowes/Home Depot that gets you a five percent discount on all your purchases; because if you own a home, you know that you end up with a lot of purchases at these stores! At least in my family, we do.
- I try to make all my regular, monthly expenses and charges on just one credit card- the one that gives me cash back, which I then save and use for travel, but can be used for whatever you like. This gets paid off at the end of every month.
- I also have this card set up to notify me via text of every charge that is placed on it. On a couple of different occasions, I have been notified about fraudulent charges that were made on the card, and I was then able to have the company cancel and re-issue the card to me.
- You may want to ask your credit card company about the possibility of obtaining a separate card on your account that can be used only for on-line purchases. This might help prevent some fraudulent activity. You would then not use this card for any purchases outside of your on-line shopping/payments.
- One item that you should never carry in your wallet is your social security card. Carrying this in your wallet, which could be easily stolen, opens you up to a whole other level of fraud and identity theft. Memorize your social security number, and then keep your card someplace safe, like those listed above.
- Membership Cards: Some will want to carry the membership cards that give you discounts on your purchases, and of course I carry my CostCo membership card.
This pretty much covers what we think should be carried in your wallet- what else would you carry?