Nobody wants an overstuffed wallet. You can’t find what you need and it feels like an unwanted growth on your leg. While some embrace minimalism and go without the occasionally-needed extra discount, membership, and credit cards, that’s not an option for everyone. If you’ve got a smartphone, however, you can distill the contents of your pocket and still carry everything you desire. Here’s how.
I used to pride myself on how much I could fit into a tiny wallet, but a day came when that wallet was more of an encumberance than an aid and I needed to downsize. I carried nearly every form of insurance and identification. I stored credit and debit cards I never use. Once I started signing up for discount cards, those came with me as well. When my wallet started to feel more like a goiter, I decided it was time to slim it down. Using an app called Lemon Wallet, I can now carry all my cards without wasting space in my pocket. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can do the same in three simple steps.
Step One: Download and Set Up Lemon Wallet
To get started, download Lemon Wallet on your Android. Before you can start using the service, you’ll need to create an account using an email address and setting a PIN lock code to keep people from accessing the data on your devices. Having an account also allows you to sync the contents of your Lemon Wallet across your devices, or easily download everything you’ve entered onto a new phone if you replace your current one. While we’d like to see a little added security, such as a more complex passcode in addition to the PIN and two-factor authentication, Lemon encrypts your data and takes extra measures to ensure sensitive information remains private. Once you’ve signed up, you can start transferring your cards into the virtual world.
Step Two: Add Simple Cards
Before you start scanning your physical cards, you should first make use of Lemon’s Simple Cards Feature. To avoid the mild hassle of scanning, you can enter a membership ID (and, on occasion, some other required information) and the app will generate a card for you. This works mostly with discount cards, such as Best Buy Rewards Zone, Rite Aid wellness+, and Safeway Club, you can also add frequent flier cards, health insurance, and more. Before you can get started, you may need to add the Simple Cards feature to your virtual wallet. To do so, click the + sign at the bottom of your screen. You’ll see only one option: Simple Cards. Choose to install it, and then it will appear as a list item in your wallet. Now you can just follow these steps to add a Simple Card:
Tap the Simple Card tab in your wallet. (If you have a bunch of stuff in your wallet already, it’ll likely be toward the bottom.)
Enter your account’s PIN number.
Scroll through the list to find the card you’re looking for, or use the filter search up top to look for something specific. When you find what you’re looking for, tap on it.
On the next screen, Lemon Wallet will ask you for information about that card. In most cases you’ll only need to enter a Member ID and possibly a card number. (You can see an example above, picturing the information required for GameStop PowerUP Rewards.)
When finished, tap the Generate SmartCard button and Lemon will add it to your wallet.
Repeat this process for as many cards as you like. In the next step, we’ll scan in the cards that you can’t add through the Simple Cards feature.
Step Three: Scan the Remaining Cards in Your Wallet
Some cards, like credit cards and identification, require a scanned copy for proper storage. Scanning cards takes very little effort as well and works with your smartphone’s built-in camera. Just follow these steps:
At the bottom of the screen, you should see a camera icon or a camera with a + sign. Tap that button to begin.
Lemon Wallet will ask you what you want to scan in. Choose “Card.”
A camera view with a broken rectangle (pictured above) will show up and you simple need to fit that broken rectangle around your card. As you line it up, the rectangle will start to fill in its lines. When you’ve successfully lined up the card, you’ll hear an alert and then be asked to perform the same task for the back side of the card.
Lemon Wallet will ask a few questions about the card you just scanned. Answer the relevant ones and skip those that don’t apply.
Once you’re done, just save the card and repeat these steps for any others plaguing your wallet. When answering post-scan questions, you can even leave out some information as Lemon will identify and fill it in for you later. If you scan a credit card, Lemon will require your PIN every time you want to access it to keep that information safe and generate a more-readable image with your card’s information so you can read it more easily than a photo. On top of that, you can tap that card to copy your credit card number if you need it to make a purchase on your phone. When you finish scanning all your cards, you’re pretty much done and can enjoy a seriously slimmed down wallet.
Optional Bonus Features
Lemon Wallet handles a bit more than just card storage. You can also scan receipts for personal reference or use in an expense report. It works much like scanning a card, but you simply choose Receipts instead when prompted. Although Lemon Wallet is a free app, and you can use everything described so far without paying, they do offer a monthly service to help protect you in the event you lose any physical copies of the cards formerly in your wallet (or the wallet itself). It costs $40 per year (or $5 a month) and monitors your accounts, helps detect fraud as soon as it occurs, reminds you when cards are about to expire, and helps you contact your card providers if your wallet is lost or stolen. Basically, the service provides wallet insurance in case of disaster. Lemon likes to send somewhat frightening emails detailing why you’d want this insurance, but it’s important to remember that you do not have to pay if you don’t want to. If you do want the insurance, or just want to pay for the app, you just need to sign up for the service through an in-app purchase or through Lemon's web site. Personally, I’ve gotten into the good habit of monitoring my accounts and haven’t needed this service. Nevertheless, it’s nice to know the option is there. Lemon can’t replace everything, of course. You’ll still need to carry your identification or driver’s license, paper money, and your primary credit card, but most everything else can stay in your smartphone now. That should leave you with a wallet you can fit comfortable in your front pocket, or wherever you choose, without worries of misplacing items or just feeling plain uncomfortable.