Can the contents of a wallet show where a person comes from? Do people in different countries have different things in their wallets?
These questions led us to see how much can be learned about life in different locations around the world, all from the contents of a person’s wallet.
Andrea (32) – Milan, Italy
Andrea carries a classic Italian leather wallet. Although a keen photographer (as the trusty SD card proves) Andrea prefers to carry small gifts as mementos of his loved ones as opposed to photos of them. There’s also a distinct lack of credit or debit cards in Andrea’s wallet, as he prefers to stick with cash or his prepaid postepay card.
“I love that despite the small size it contains everything I need.”
Anastasiya (34) – Kharkov, Ukraine
Anastasiya goes for a standard small leather wallet and it contains everything that she needs. She likes to carry cash, but also has 4 credit cards. Despite the credit cards, she prefers to use her debit card to buy things. She has no gift cards but she does carry loyalty cards for the gas station and car wash. You won‘t find any photos or receipts in here, it‘s essentials only.
“My favorite thing about my wallet is its compact size. I never have to fumble around to try and find the card I need, they are all neatly stacked up against one another.”
Priya (27) – Oklahoma City, USA
Priya likes to keep it down to the bare essentials. She has a very simple, small leather wallet, so there is no room for anything sentimental. She has a little bit of cash and her two credit cards. She has no loyalty cards and doesn‘t keep old receipts in here. She does have a couple of hair ties though, along with a pair of earrings, just for emergencies.
Anastasia (18) – Hamilton, Canada
Anastasia has a nice roomy wallet. But despite the fact that has plenty of space, you won‘t find it filled with photos or receipts. She tells us she never uses the ATM and has no credit cards. As a keen student, she carries her University pass and a public library card. She also has a grocery store loyalty card and gift cards for MAC cosmetics and Tim Hortons.
“My wallet has a minimal, but useful design.”
Emre (21) – Izmir, Turkey
Emre doesn’t carry photos of his family or friends, instead the only photo in his wallet is a passport sized photo of himself. We can see a bunch of different IDs in there and a sim card. He has no need for loyalty cards and doesn’t keep old receipts in his wallet. He keeps some cash on him although he prefers to use his credit card when paying for things.
“I like that my wallet looks good and is new. I don’t like things with flaws. It is basically about optical appearance.”
Irina (27) – Rostow on Don, Russia
We can see a lot of cards in Irina’s fresh looking wallet. She has 2 credit cards and loyalty cards for Sneshnaya Koroleva and Ikea. She gets paid in both cash and bank transfer and likes to keep change on her. However she prefers to use her debit card when buying items. Irina keeps a tidy wallet, with only what she needs day to day.
“The wallet itself is the last item I got from my mum, then she past away. So the wallet means a lot to me.”
Jayson (36) – Tampere, Finland
Jayson only has a couple of coins in his wallet, preferring to use his debit cards to pay for items. He’s a proud pet owner and carries around a photo of his dog. He has some receipts and a business card for Natura Siberica, the wild herbs and cosmetics company. As a keen photographer, he also has some business cards ready to hand out to potential clients.
Vivek (27) – Chennai, India
Vivek uses the ATM at least twice a day, so it‘s good that he lives close to one. He keeps a bunch of different I.D and bank cards in his wallet, alongside some cash which is his preferred method of payment. Like many of the photographers in our list he always carries around a spare S.D. card as well as some business cards.
“My favorite things in my wallet are the pictures of my wife and daughter.”
Ashley (47) – El Valle del Espiritu Santo, Venezuela
Ashley has by far the fullest wallet so far, so it‘s good he has plenty of room in there. Clearly the photos of his wife and daughter are the most important items, they sit alongside a whole bunch of different IDs and a loyalty card for the pharmacy. He has 3 credit cards and 3 debit cards, preferring to use his credit card than cash when making purchases.
Filip (23) – Prilep, Macedonia
Filip is another fan of the standard leather wallet here. Despite having cash in two different currencies, Filip uses his debit card most often to buy items. In addition to the debit card he also has 3 credit cards and his driver’s license. But his most treasured items in his wallet are the pictures of his friends and cousins graduating.
Molly (24) – Manchester, UK
“I like the size of my wallet and that it has all these useful compartments.”
Molly doesn‘t have credit cards but has a couple of debit cards and a nice chunk of change, although she most often uses debit cards in the shops. She has a pharmacy loyalty card and an, all-important, blood donor card. She keeps some receipts in her wallet, including a bus ticket and a bar receipt. She also keeps a couple of hair clips in there, just in case.
“My favorite item in my wallet would be the letter that I have from years ago.”
Joyce (32) – Tagaytay City, Philippines
Joyce opts for a classic looking purse. Although she has a couple of debit cards, she gets paid in cash and usually uses this to pay for items. Which is why her purse is often full of ATM receipts. She has her I.D in there, but doesn’t keep much else inside, except for her most prized possession — a hand-written letter from a loved one.
“It was designed by a Peruvian designer whose brand is considered high end.”
Gerard (58) – Limal, Peru
Gerard likes to carry a picture of Jesus in his stylish Peruvian designer wallet. His loyalty card for Wong is an item he uses often and sits alongside his I.D, bank cards and Medical Care card. Gerard takes money out of the ATM five times a week, but ultimately prefers to use his debit card when buying items. The old receipts he keeps in his wallet are all for swimming classes.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
“I don‘t like wallets that don‘t have a dedicated coin department.”
Amer (22) – Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Amer doesn‘t carry photos around with him, in fact he doesn’t like to carry very much at all. One of the few items he does keep around is a loyalty card for a sports store. Amer gets paid in cash so doesn’t use an ATM very often, sometimes even just once a month. Amer always has some cash on him, as he prefers this method of payment. Amer thinks it’s important to keep all his coins in their own compartment.
“I love the different compartment in my purse where I can hold all of my important cards.”
Manzeel (30) Kathmandu, Nepal
Manzeel opts for a nicely compartmentalized wallet, with plenty of space for his cash and cards. He prefers to use his debit cards to pay for his things and doesn’t own a credit card. Apart from theses cards and a loyalty card for Buddha Air, Manzeel doesn’t carry much. Manzeel likes to keep his wallet clean and organized, so he doesn’t carry any non-essentials.
“My favorite thing is that my wallet is still with me and I haven’t lost it through all those years”
Povilas (29) Vilnius, Lithuania
Povilas’ has had his wallet for a number of years, as can be seen by it’s well-worn look. However, the rugged outside hides a very clean and tidy interior holding only carefully curated essentials. Povilas carries €100 ($112) in his wallet, but surprisingly, rarely uses cash preferring to pay for things with his debit card. In fact he usually only visits an ATM once a month, so that cash must have been in his wallet for a while.
To create this project we advertised for contributors on Upwork.com. We received over 100 applications and from this selected 16 different people from all around the globe. We asked each of them to take a photo of the contents of their wallets and then edit these photos so as to remove any sensitive information such as card numbers or home addresses. None of the photos we received contained any personal information except for the contributors first name and place of residence. We then interviewed each contributor asking them a series of questions about their wallet and how they use it. We compared all the answers we received to help us uncover the similarities and differences between cultures, particularly in regards to their use of money.