Hello, I’m Michael Sliwinski, founder of Nozbe - to-do app for business owners and their teams. I write essays, books, work on projects and I podcast for you using #iPadOnly in #NoOffice as I believe that work is not a place you go to, it’s a thing you do. More…

How my iPhone became my minimalist wallet and why I’m loving it


Women have this inexplicable affinity for shoes and purses… and wallets, and jewelry, and other accessories. I’m a guy. Guys have gadgets. Typically guys carry three things with them: a wallet, a watch and a phone. While I wear my watch on occasion (not as often as I used to), I needed to carry my phone and wallet at all times. Now I finally managed to merge these two things into one - a minimalist iPhone wallet.

How my iPhone became my minimalist wallet and why I’m loving it

I’ve had several wallets over the last few years. The GTD-Notetaker wallet from David Allen, several nice leather wallets… but I never found a wallet I really liked. Moreover when leaving the house I’d have to remember where I’d put the wallet… and unlike your phone - you cannot call your wallet in order to find it.

I also live in a city where temperatures are usually around 20-30 C (50-70 F) where due to the type of clothing I wear I have limited “pocket” space and I always hated stuffing my pockets with a phone on one side and a wallet in the other. That’s why when I saw an article on TUAW about Quirky Crossover iPhone5 wallet I decided to give it a try and get rid of the wallet altogether. After a month of using it every day, I’m totally sold on the concept. Here’s why:

I love not having to remember about my wallet anymore!

This is so great. I just need to take my iPhone with me. That’s it. Although it’s been more than a month when I started with it, I’d still sometimes catch myself thinking about my wallet, only to realize that my iPhone “IS” my wallet. Here’s how I set it up:

Contents of my minimalist iPhone wallet

Quirky Crossover consists of two “bands”. The “inner” and the “outer” band. You can configure them to be of any color you want. I chose “purple” and “orange” to make my black iPhone look more vivid and less boring. You can still go with “grey/grey” if you to keep a lower profile… It’s all up to you.

The cool thing about the Crossover minimalist wallet is the fact that you are not limited by very few (usually only two) places for your credit cards. These are elastic bands, you can go crazy and put a lot more stuff there. I still limit myself but this is what I put in there:

“Inner band” - stuff I rarely use

This means my Visa credit card (I use it for bigger purchases), one 50 EUR bill I keep for “just in case I need additional cash” scenario, 5 business cards (to give out to people I talk to if they need my contact).

“Outer band” - stuff I use all the time

This means my Driver’s License (in case I need a photo-id), Visa Electron bank card and another 50 EUR in smaller bills for small purchases.

That’s it - that’s all I have in my wallet.

“How about coins?” you might ask…

I hate coins. Seriously, I can’t stand them. They’re heavy and clunky and they are a relict that’s still around in 21st century for a reason I can’t comprehend. Nostalgia I guess.

Well, in many places (parkings, malls, etc.) you still need coins… or where they don’t accept cards, they ask you to pay with cash and everything below 10 EUR is a coin. Here’s what I did to solve my “coin problem”.

I leave home with one 1 EUR coin in my pocket. Or no coin at all. When I pay with cash I get coins (unfortunately) and put them in my pocket. When I come home, I empty my pockets and put these coins in one jar. Later I’ll decide what to do with all these coins. Probably donate to my local church or something.

This way I don’t need a wallet for coins. Every day when I leave home my pocket is empty of coins. Sweet.

“How about membership cards?” you might ask..

In general I refuse to accept or sign up for membership cards. Especially loyalty cards. I don’t collect anything and forcing me to “collect points” to later in a year give me a freebie I’d throw away anyway or a 5% discount on a purchase I might not do is not tempting for me anymore.

In cases where for some reason I need a membership card I just take a photo of it and store it in my Evernote notebook on my iPhone. This way when they ask me to show the card, I show them a photo of it on my iPhone.

“What happens if you lose your phone? You lose everything then…” you might ask..

I don’t remember I ever lost my phone so I’m not planning to start losing it now. Besides, having the wallet out of the picture, I have one thing less to worry about.

Additional bonus: PayPass

In Poland, Mastercard rolled out PayPass program, where for purchases lower than 50PLN you can just pay by putting your card nearby the card reader and you don’t even have to authenticate your purchase with a PIN. I love it. I’d put the PayPass card in my “outer” band of my minimalist wallet and pay by just placing the iPhone next to the cashier.

Another bonus: iPhone protection

Unlike iPhone “cases” and “sleeves” and “covers”, this one protects the iPhone from all sides (and especially the corners) while still letting you “touch the aluminum unibody” of the iPhone 5. The drawback is that the iPhone doesn’t “fall into the pocket” so easily anymore… but the good thing is that it doesn’t “fall out of the pocket” either. Well, I like my iPhone protected :-)

Am I going back to a traditional wallet?

Nope. Not anymore. After a month of using the Quirky Crossover minimalist iPhone 5 wallet I’m sold on the concept. I don’t deal with coins, membership cards and an additional bulk of a wallet. I’m a guy. Guys love gadgets and this is my ultimate “gadget wallet”.

Question: Do you like your wallet? Would you give it up for a minimalist wallet like mine?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013 /iphone-wallet/