Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist’s Dream

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The Lowdown

I love the unique design and features of Ekster Wallets and the new Ekster Aluminum Cardholder is no exception. If you’re ready to reduce the bulk in your back pocket and go to a truly minimalist wallet, the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder is an excellent choice.

Overall
5

Pros

  • Small, light, and easily pocketed
  • Unique cardholder makes access easy
  • RFID blocking protection is part of the expandable storage system
  • Designed to accept the Ekster Tracking Card

Cons

  • Might be too minimalistic for some
Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream Listen to this article

Some months ago, my friend David turned me on to Ekster wallets. He had just gotten one and loved it. Soon after, I got an Ekster Parliament Wallet, and I’ve also become a fan. Now they’ve released the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder. It’s excellent and has a few unique features I love; it’s also currently on sale.

I liked the Ekster Parliament Wallet so much that we added it to our Holiday Gift Guide. While the Parliament can hold twelve or more cards (Ekster recommends you carry nine), it still falls into the “minimalist wallet” category. The Parliament has become my favorite wallet, and I use it as my daily driver.

When originally moving to the Ekster Parliament Wallet, I had to remove a few of the physical cards that I would usually have carried. That wasn’t a big deal since several of the cards I carry are compatible with Apple Wallet, or a replica of the card is shown in different brands’ apps. In other words, while I had to carefully consider which cards I would actually keep in my Ekster wallet, I was able to do so with zero inconveniences.

The new Ekster Aluminum Cardholder has many of the key features that made me a fan, but it is even slimmer than the Ekster Parliament Wallet since it doesn’t have the attached leather bifold wrap with its integrated card pockets. I didn’t think I would like the more minimalistic Aluminum Cardholder as much as the Parliament, but then Raina and I had a chance to get away for the first time since the pandemic began.

While planning for our trip, I realized that many of the cards I carry, even in my downsized wallet, wouldn’t be needed while we were on vacation. For example, while away, I would not need the swipe card that lets me into my synagogue, my Chaplain’s ID card, or the swipe card that lets me into the police station.

It was then that it struck me. I could carry the basic cards I needed while traveling in the Aluminum Cardholder and cut down even more weight and bulk, so that’s what I did.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Features:

  • Fans out your cards like a switchblade
  • Space-grade 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Expandable aluminum backplate
  • Blocks RFID (wireless theft)
  • Holds 1-15 cards + bills (1-6 in the cardholder)
  • Add a Tracker to make it unlosable
  • Dimensions 0.29 x 4.1 x 2.3 in
  • Storage: 1-6 cards in the cardholder, up to 9 cards in the elastic backplate
  • Note: The cardholder holds a maximum of 6 non-embossed cards, or a combination of 4 – 5 embossed/non-embossed cards (depending on the thickness of each card)

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder in box

It turns out that the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder is the perfect travel companion! But I’m getting ahead of myself.

As I mentioned, my daily driver, the Ekster Parliament Wallet, is a leather bifold with two interior pockets, one exterior pocket, and an elastic band inside the fold that holds my vaccination card and a few bills. The main compartment, which can hold up to six cards, is aluminum, and it’s integrated into the leather bifold; that cardholder is glued into place, so it isn’t removable.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream

The Ekster Parliament Wallet

The new Ekster Aluminum Cardholder basically takes this internal piece and makes it a standalone product. But, as you will see, there’s more to it than that.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder in hand

Ekster says that the Aluminum Cardholder can hold a “maximum of 6 non-embossed cards, or a combination of 4 – 5 embossed/non-embossed cards (depending on the thickness of each card).” Once the cards have been placed into the open slot on the cardholder’s end, they are securely held inside.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream

When you want to access the cards, you simply press down on a plastic “button” on the other end of the cardholder. This action pushes the cards up and out of the cardholder.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream

Thanks to the company’s ingenuity, however, when the cards are pushed out, they create a fan, so it is easy to select the specific card you want without needing to remove all the cards and sort through them.

ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream

This aluminum cardholder is the same cardholder that’s found in the Ekster Parliament Wallet but without the integrated leather bifold.

The Ekster Aluminum Cardholder also has a metal backplate that is independent of the aluminum card slot. The backplate is held in place by a thick elastic band which allows you to insert up to nine additional cards on top of the cards held in the cardholder.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder Review: A Minimalist's Dream

In addition to holding additional cards in place, this backplate blocks RFID so that any cards placed beneath it are shielded from the card scanners crooks use to steal people’s personal information. I love this feature, and I found it especially comforting to know that my cards were safe while traveling.

Ekster Aluminum Cardholder offers RFID protection

But there’s more.

While on the cruise, we had swipe keycards to access our room. Usually, I have to get a new card at least once each cruise because I’ll accidentally let the keycard come into contact with my phone. Thanks to this RFID-blocking provided by this layer and the aluminum wallet itself, I could carry the room key without concern that this would happen.

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The elastic band that holds the RFID backplate runs around the Cardholder, creating a place on the other side for a few folded bills.

The elastic band that runs around the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder

 

So the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder can carry up to six cards internally, up to nine additional cards beneath the backplate, and some cash under the elastic on the opposite side of the backplate, all while maintaining its thin, minimalist design.

Ekster also offers a Tracker Card that you can add to your wallet. The Tracker Card is a thin black device the size of a single credit card and the thickness of two. Powered by Chipolo Technology, it is compatible with iOS 11 or Android 5 and above.

The Ekster Tracker Card has a range of up to 200′ thanks to Bluetooth 4.0, and it’s part of Chipolo’s Worldwide Lost and Found Platform. Thanks to its card-like design, it can easily slip under the elastic on the Cardholder or replace two cards in the interior of the card mechanism.

 

A few aspects of this tracker device make it stand out in an increasingly crowded field:

  • It is solar-powered. A small solar cell built into its surface allows it to be fully recharged in about three hours. Once charged, it will last for two to three months before needing to sunbathe again.
  • It is voice-activated using Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri.
  • It includes an unusual “Selfie-mode” that lets you use the tracker to take a selfie.

The Tracker Card is usually $49, but it is currently available for $39. You can learn more about it and its unusual features here.

I love the unique design and features of Ekster Wallets, and the new Ekster Aluminum Cardholder is no exception. If you’re ready to reduce the bulk in your back pocket and go to a truly minimalist wallet, the Ekster Aluminum Cardholder is an excellent choice.

The Ekster Aluminum Cardholder retails for $79 (currently on sale for $63); it is available directly from the manufacturer.

Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample

What I Like: Small, light, and easily pocketed; Unique cardholder makes access easy; RFID blocking protection is part of the expandable storage system; Designed to accept the Ekster Tracking Card

What Needs Improvement: Might be too minimalistic for some

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About the Author

Dan Cohen
Having a father who was heavily involved in early laser and fiber-optical research, Dan grew up surrounded by technology and gadgets. Dan’s father brought home one of the very first video games when he was young and Dan remembers seeing a “pre-release” touchtone phone. (When he asked his father what the “#” and “*” buttons were his dad said, “Some day, far in the future, we’ll have some use for them.”) Technology seemed to be in Dan’s blood but at some point he took a different path and ended up in the clergy. His passion for technology and gadgets never left him. Dan is married to Raina Goldberg who is also an avid user of Apple products. They live in New Jersey with their golden doodle Nava.