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Wallet vs. Purse: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
A wallet is a small, flat case for carrying personal items like cash and cards, while a purse, in American English, is a larger bag used for carrying various personal items, often with a shoulder strap.
Wallet vs. Purse

Key Differences

A wallet is typically a compact, foldable case used primarily for holding money, credit cards, and identification documents. In contrast, a purse is generally larger, designed to carry a variety of personal items including a wallet, phone, cosmetics, and keys.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
Wallets are usually carried inside a purse or pocket, making them a more concealed and secure option for essential items. Purses, often worn over the shoulder or carried by hand, are more visible and accessible for storing and retrieving a wider range of items.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
The design of a wallet is focused on organization and ease of access to cash and cards, often featuring dedicated slots and compartments. Purses vary greatly in design and size, offering more flexibility in terms of the items they can accommodate.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
Wallets are commonly used by both men and women, whereas purses are traditionally associated with women’s fashion and accessories. However, there are gender-neutral and men’s versions of both items.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
Material-wise, wallets are often made of leather or synthetic materials for durability and a sleek appearance, while purses come in a wider range of materials, from leather to fabric, and styles to suit various fashion preferences.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Primary Function

Carrying cash and cards
Carrying various personal items
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Dec 07, 2023

Size

Small, compact
Larger, varies in size
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Dec 07, 2023

Carrying Method

In pocket or purse
Over the shoulder or by hand
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Dec 07, 2023

Gender Association

Both men and women
Traditionally women, but varies
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Dec 07, 2023

Design Focus

Organizing small items
Accommodating a range of items
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Dec 07, 2023
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Wallet and Purse Definitions

Wallet

A small folding case for holding cash and cards.
He pulled out his wallet to pay the bill.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Purse

A bag for carrying various personal items.
She rummaged through her purse for her keys.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Wallet

A pocket-sized holder for personal identification.
Her driver's license was in her wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Purse

Used to carry essentials including a wallet.
Her purse contained her wallet, phone, and makeup.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Wallet

Designed for compactness and security.
The slim wallet fit perfectly in his pocket.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023
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Purse

Varies in size, style, and material.
She preferred a small, fabric purse for daily use.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Wallet

Often made of leather or fabric for durability.
He bought a new leather wallet.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Purse

Can be a fashion statement or a practical accessory.
Her designer purse matched her outfit perfectly.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Wallet

Can include features like coin pockets or RFID protection.
His wallet had a special section for coins.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Purse

A usually closable bag used for carrying keys, a wallet, and other personal items, especially by women; a handbag.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A flat pocket-sized folding case, usually made of leather, for holding paper money, cards, or photographs; a billfold.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A usually closable small bag or pouch for carrying money.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A small case, often flat and often made of leather, for keeping money (especially paper money), credit cards, etc.
The thief stole all the money and credit cards out of the old man's wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

Something that resembles a bag or pouch, such as a purse seine.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A person's bank account or assets.
It's unknown if the pro running back's recent sex scandal will hit him in the wallet or not.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

An available amount of money or resources
A project funded by the public purse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

An e-wallet or digital wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A sum of money collected as a present or offered as a prize.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A thick case or folder with plastic sleeves in which compact discs may be stored.
I won an auction online for a cheap CD wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To gather or contract (the lips or brow) into wrinkles or folds; pucker.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

(archaic) A bag or pouch.
He brought with him a large wallet with some provisions for the road.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A small bag for carrying money.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

(slang) A person's buttocks (the area of the body nearest where one keeps one's wallet).
He fell down and landed on his wallet.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

(US) A handbag (small bag usually used by women for carrying various small personal items)
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A bag or sack for carrying about the person, as a bag for carrying the necessaries for a journey; a knapsack; a beggar's receptacle for charity; a peddler's pack.
[His hood] was trussed up in his walet.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A quantity of money given for a particular purpose.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A pocketbook for keeping money about the person.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

(historical) A specific sum of money in certain countries: formerly 500 piastres in Turkey or 50 tomans in Persia.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

Anything protuberant and swagging.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

(transitive) To press (one's lips) in and together so that they protrude.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Wallet

A pocket-size case for holding papers and paper money
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To draw up or contract into folds or wrinkles; to pucker; to knit.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To put into a purse.
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Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To steal purses; to rob.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A small bag or pouch, the opening of which is made to draw together closely, used to carry money in; by extension, any receptacle for money carried on the person; a wallet; a pocketbook; a portemonnaie.
Who steals my purse steals trash.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

Hence, a treasury; finances; as, the public purse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A sum of money offered as a prize, or collected as a present; as, to win the purse; to make up a purse.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A specific sum of money
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To put into a purse.
I will go and purse the ducats straight.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To draw up or contract into folds or wrinkles, like the mouth of a purse; to pucker; to knit.
Thou . . . didst contract and purse thy brow.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

To steal purses; to rob.
I'll purse: . . . I'll bet at bowling alleys.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A bag used for carrying money and small personal items or accessories (especially by women);
She reached into her bag and found a comb
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A sum of money spoken of as the contents of a money purse;
He made the contribution out of his own purse
He and his wife shared a common purse
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A small bag for carrying money
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

A sum of money offered as a prize;
The purse barely covered the winner's expenses
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

Contract one's lips into a rounded shape
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

Gather or contract into wrinkles or folds; pucker;
Purse ones's lips
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Purse

Often comes with handles or a shoulder strap.
Her purse had a long strap for easy carrying.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 26, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Are wallets gender-specific?

They can be, but many are unisex.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can wallets have technology like RFID blocking?

Yes, many modern wallets do.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Do wallets come in different sizes?

Yes, from small cardholders to larger bifolds.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Do purses come in standard sizes?

No, they range from small to large.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What is a wallet used for?

Carrying cash, cards, and IDs.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Are purses only for fashion?

No, they can also be practical.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Do all purses have shoulder straps?

Most do, but some have handles or both.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can a wallet be a fashion accessory?

Yes, especially designer wallets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can men use purses?

Yes, there are gender-neutral and men's purses.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is a wallet more secure than a purse?

Generally, due to its size and concealability.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can a wallet be carried alone?

Yes, especially in pockets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is a wallet a common gift?

Yes, it's a popular gift choice.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

What is a purse used for?

Carrying a variety of personal items.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is a purse considered essential for women?

Often, but it depends on personal choice.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Are purses safe for carrying valuable items?

It depends on the design and how it's carried.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can a wallet be part of a purse set?

Yes, many brands offer matching sets.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Can purses be waterproof?

Some are, depending on the material.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Do wallets have compartments for coins?

Some do, but not all.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

Is it common to carry a purse daily?

For many people, yes.
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Dec 07, 2023

Are all purses made of leather?

No, they come in various materials.
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Shumaila Saeed
Dec 07, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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