What is the difference between a wallet and a purse?

What is the difference between a wallet and a purse?

There are quite a lot of differences between a wallet and a purse. In order to properly understand them, it would be prudent to first define these two things separately and then enumerate the distinguishing factors.

And that is what we will be doing in this post. Read on to see what exactly these two items are and what sets them apart from one another.

What is a wallet?

A wallet can be broadly defined as a small case or a flat pouch that can be used to carry around items such as bank cards, cash, receipts, and slips. Wallets are mainly used by men.

There are a lot of different varieties and types nowadays. The iconic and general image associated with the word is that of bi fold pocketbooks – basically, the ones that can be opened up to reveal the pockets and slots, etc. However, there are other variants and types, such as front pocket wallets, which have made their entrance recently in this modern age.

The ‘front pocket’ category encompasses slim minimalist wallets that are designed for people who do not carry as much when they are on the move. Some of these products come with metal money clips that provide the user a secure place for holding cash separately from the rest of the stuff.

renegade purse wallet men women leather

What is a purse?

A purse, on the other hand, is much larger. It can be adequately defined as a bag that is used to store not just cards and cash, but everyday items such as accessories, jewelry, pins, tissues, and hairbrushes etcetera. Purses are mainly used by females.

There are a variety of types in purses as well such as satchels, shoulder bags, and clutches, etc. Another word for purses is handbags.

The Differences

Now that we have looked at the basic definitions, let’s go ahead a take a look at the distinguishing features between these two.

The Size

A wallet is quite smaller as compared to a purse. The former is kept inside pockets while the latter is carried slung on the shoulder. This alone should give an idea of how widely the sizes vary.

A billfold owes its small size to the fact that it is made to only carry small items such as cards and cash etc. A purse, on the other hand, is made for keeping much more, as was mentioned earlier. However, there is a great diversity in the sizes of the various types of handbags. On the one hand, you get a tote; which is quite large in size and can hold stuff like garments, groceries, food items etcetera. On the other hand, you get smaller varieties such as clutches; which are suitable for just the bare essentials.


The way these two are used is also different from one another. Basically, what that means is that while handbags and clutches are luxury items that are focused on looks, wallets are more focused on utility and convenience. This does not mean that all of them are ugly blobs, bereft of any touch of charisma. It simply means that there is lesser scope for styling on a billfold as compared to a handbag.

roam clutch purse wallet


The convenience and ease of access is also a point of distinction between these two. Carrying a handbag would be quite an engaging and arduous task for a person. To carry a handbag, you would need to constantly keep it in on your shoulder or, if it’s a slim clutch, hold it in your hand. Unlike a slim cardholder or pocketbook, you can’t just put it away somewhere and then forget about it.

A minimalist wallet, on the other hand, would be much more discreet. Once it is in your pocket, you can go around doing whatever you need to do without being constantly encumbered by it.


These were some of the differences that you will find between standard handbags and wallets. The latter are generally smaller sized and have restricted usability. You can use a wallet to store some specific items which include cash, cards, and receipts etc.

A purse on the other hand is much more spacious and can be used to store a range of different paraphernalia. You can put things like cardholders and smartphones in your handbag, and this you can’t do with a good old bi fold pocketbook.

Hopefully, after reading this post, you will have a better idea about the differences between wallets and purses so that next time anyone decides to ask you, you can give some satisfactory answers.

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