Younger readers can be forgiven for not knowing what a passcase wallet is. While commonplace in an earlier time, passcase wallets fell out of stylistic favor for several decades.
However, this older style of wallet is making its way back into the jacket and jean pockets of people around the world. So, what is a passcase wallet? Let’s explore what sets these wallets apart and if they should find their way into your pocket or be left on the shelf.
Introduction to Passcase Wallets
Let’s start by examining what a passcase wallet is and what makes them different from other wallets. Usually made from leather or faux leather, a passcase wallet is very similar to a traditional bifold wallet in that it has a single fold and two flaps. The major difference is theextra flap, which can be removable.
The additional passcase flap usually has extra card slots to expand the credit card carrying capacity along with a transparent window flap to hold identification. This is a convenient way to give a traditional bifold more carrying capacity without making it as bulky as some trifold leather wallet designs can be.
That said, the passcase flap does make the wallet bulkier, so they’re not the slimmest wallet type on the market. Passcase wallets are an increasingly popular option for men who are looking for extra space in their wallets.
The passcase flap is usually made of the same quality leather as the wallet itself, so it retains the wallet’s durability. The additional flap can be removable or sewn into the wallet. Removable flaps are more versatile, and leather passcase wallets are once again becoming prized for their versatility.
The removable leather flap means the wallet can be turned back into a traditional bifold, but it does have some downsides that we’ll explore later. The sewn-in passcase design ensures the flap will stay attached but fixes the size of the wallet.
Flaps also aren’t always vertically opened. Whether it’s a removable passcase or fixed, either design can be offered in ways that open vertically or horizontally. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference and the discretion of the designer.
Pros vs Cons of Using a Passcase Wallet
While extra credit card slots sound like an automatic win, there’s more to consider when it comes to the passcase. Sure, everyone wants more card pockets, but what are all the pros and cons of the passcase wallet design?
The Beauty of More
The main advantages of a passcase can be broken down as follows:
- Carrying capacity
- Material durability
- Convenience and security
The carrying capacity argument is most obvious. The passcase provides more credit card pockets and usually contains a window for identification as well. This frees up an additional spot inside the wallet, as identification can be stored in the window and not in the wallet itself.
If you’re looking for a wallet with more storage than a bifold but don’t fully want to bulk out with a trifold design, the passcase offers a solid middle ground to cater to both while not quite going all the way in a single direction.
As mentioned before when it comes to versatility, the removable flaps are among the most versatile wallet design there is. Bring the flap when you need the extra space, and leave it at home when you want to keep the slim bifold design. Having a removable passcase flap as opposed to a built-in one gives you more options.
Durability is the first of the more subtle advantages that come with the passcase style. Most readers are familiar with traditional wallets that have a plastic cover on an internal identification flap.
These identification covers are made from less durable plastic and not the high-quality leather that the rest of the wallet is made from. Leather is one of the most durable materials on Earth, so much so that leather was even used as armor in some Medieval societies.
The plastic covers are usually the first part of the wallet to show dings, dents, cuts, and other visible signs of wear. If the damage builds up enough, the plastic cover could rip and no longer be a useful holder for your most important documents.
Having the plastic ID flap inward-facing helps protect it from wear and tear. Essentially, this allows the most vulnerable part of the wallet to get some extra protection, extending its life and durability.
The inward-facing flap will appear on both passcase designs that feature a vertical or horizontally closing flap. Removable or not, keeping the plastic covering less exposed will add protection and keep the wallet looking newer for longer.
The last major and less obvious advantage is a one-two punch. Having an exterior flip-out window flap that holds your ID lets you show your identification faster. Chris Tucker said it best in Rush Hour, “flip it open, flip it closed.”
A less obvious benefit to a quick flip of the flap is that you can show your ID without showing the contents of the rest of your wallet. While carrying large sums of cash is probably not commonly done, even a few bills can draw unwanted attention.
Career criminals and pickpockets are good at quickly profiling a potential target based on other items found in a wallet as well. Flashy-looking credit cards will draw unwanted eyes just as quickly as cash.
Being able to show ID without exposing the other contents of your wallet provides safety and deters potential thieves. Not bad for a little old wallet design!
It’s Not All Good News
The passcase also has some flaws, which all readers should consider if they’re thinking of purchasing. The downsides can be summarized as:
- Added bulk
- Potential to lose the flap
Adding additional card slots and the exterior window will add bulk to the wallet. Even if they aren’t fully utilized, there’s just no escaping the extra mass and thickness that comes with extra space. The bulkiness can make the wallet feel more pronounced in the pocket, and it is much less comfortable to sit on.
Bulk is bad, but it’s far from the worst thing in the world. That would squarely be reserved for losing your ID and credit cards if anything happened to the external flap. There’s nothing at all holding a removal flap in place — it can fall out or even be taken by an exceptionally skilled pickpocket. Truly alarming news!
Buying a fixed flap passcase provides an additional security measure at the cost of versatility. The extra bulk will be there whether it’s being used or not. In this case, the bulk is probably worth the additional security of knowing your ID won’t be going anywhere without you.
Ready to Buy? Things to Consider
Most passcase wallets are made of durable full-grain leather and are high-quality wallets. Specific leather styles can vary, and the options available today should suit even the most discerning tastes. From smooth leather to exceptional hand-stained Italian leather varieties, there’s a wallet out there for everyone.
Natural leather aside, the real choices come down to a removable or static flap and the direction the flap opens towards.
The removable flaps provide versatility at the cost of a higher chance of losing the flap entirely. Either way, you’ll also need to decide if you want to flip the ID flap up or out.
Flipping up might make you feel like an FBI agent ready to take control of the scene but will leave your credit card slots upside down. Having a flap that flips out almost feels like a more natural extension of the wallet itself and will leave your cards facing the correct direction.
One last point to consider isn’t specific to passcase wallets but it’s an important one nonetheless. As electronic crime is on the rise, some companies have included “RFID”, or radio frequency identification protection in their wallets.
Discerning potential thieves employ inexpensive radio frequency scanners that allow them to mimic the RFID technology that powers digital payments. While digital payment security is generally high, it’s getting easier for a thief to steal payment information without your credit card ever leaving your wallet!
RFID blocking protection takes the form of a metallic mesh insert that sits between the layers of leather within your wallet. This helpful piece of metal blocks a potential thief from stealing your credit card information. Ultimately, the metal mesh reduces the overall capacity of your wallet as the inserts will bulk things up, but the added safety might NOT be worth it.
Return of the Passcase
So, what is a passcase wallet? Passcase wallets offer extra space and versatility all in a nice quality leather form. Coming back into style, passcases give you more utility and space to store your cards and cash. If you’re looking for more information, our interactive wallet ranking guide might help you find your next best wallet.