Reader K submitted the following to Ask Unclutterer:
Even though I keep my wallet tidy, it is always packed with debit cards, credit cards, ID, insurance cards (dental, health, vision), auto insurance, business cards etc. I’ve consolidated loyalty cards into my iPhone, but do you have other tips like consolidating insurance cards? Is it okay to put all the insurance ID/phone # etc on one homemade card and get it laminated?
I’m glad to read that you have consolidated your loyalty cards. It is such an easy task and saves a good amount of space in your wallet and/or on your keychain. For other readers, if you have a smart phone, all you need to do to put your loyalty cards on your phone is use a digital camera with better than 2 megapixels and a micro focus to take closeup pictures of the bar codes on your cards. Then, transfer the pictures to your smartphone and store them in a folder in your photos titled “loyalty cards.” Barcode scanners should be able to read the barcode image and the number also can be manually typed into a keypad if the scanner doesn’t work.
In theory, keeping all of your insurance information on a single card should be enough for your medical provider. However, every doctor I’ve ever visited wants the physical card so they can photocopy it and check the name printed on the card against a photo ID. The reason they photocopy the card and check the name is to help prevent against insurance fraud (someone, not you, using your card to cover their care). Seeing as someone determined to commit fraud could easily make a fake card with their name on it, I’m not sure how valuable this process of checking identity really is. Regardless, it’s what the medical providers currently do to show their due diligence.
I get around the big wallet problem by only carrying the bare minimum cards on me when I am just running around town — driver’s license, debit card, and my primary health insurance card. I’ll only take other cards with me if I know I’m going to the specific place that requires that card. In fact, my entire wallet is nothing more than a business card case. My method isn’t for everyone, though, especially people who live in remote locations where accidentally forgetting a card could be an hour trip home from the doctor’s office to retrieve the card. In these situations, I’d recommend a credit card holder that could be locked in the car’s glove box.
Thank you, K, for submitting your question for our Ask Unclutterer column. Please check the comments for even more suggestions from our readers.
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