The new tax year started on Monday 6th April and that means it's time for us to fill up everyone's wallets with tax refunds again.

While we're working on getting your wallet filled up again, here's a few tips on how to keep it safe and,, should the worst happen and you lose it, how likely you are to get it back.

What are the chances of someone returning my wallet?

It’s a strange quirk of human nature that people tend be more likely to return a lot wallet to its owner if it’s full than if it’s empty.

Last year, a study in Science magazine saw researchers deliberately losing 17,000 wallets across 350 cities in 40 countries. The surprising results showed that the more money a wallet contained, the more likely it was to be returned.

  • A wallet with about £12-£13 inside, for instance, would find its way home about 50% of the time (10% more often than if it had been empty).
  • Upping the cash to around £80, however, bumped the return rate to over 70%.

According to the study, it seems like it’s natural to us to play fairer when there’s more at stake. The more money’s on the line, the more we feel good about doing the right thing.

Losing your wallet

Losing a wallet’s a pretty big deal. Most of us keep the obvious things in our – cash, credit or debit cards and so on – but many keep much more personal stuff in there too. Photos of loved ones are high on the list, naturally enough, but strange things like old ticket stubs from memorable events are surprisingly common, too.

For some people, losing a wallet or purse isn’t so much about the money as all those other personal items, the things you like to keep close at all times.

It can take the best part of a day to get your life back on track after a wallet goes missing. You’ve got cards to cancel and cash to scramble together for starters. Depending on what you keep in yours, you might now be missing an important key - or even a crucial licence or ID card.

Stealing your identity along with your cash

To a thief, a wallet can be a goldmine of personal details that goes way beyond any cash or cards they find inside. Top finds for fraudsters include password reminder notes, till receipts and even gift cards. At best, you’re going to lose your hard-earned cash and deal with some credit card fraud.

At worst, though, you’ve potentially just left your entire identity on the bus, and today’s thieves can get up to all sorts of mischief with that information.

How to protect yourself from theft and loss

Sometimes, you don’t even need to misplace your wallet to lose what’s inside it. Portable smartcard readers can, with the right conditions and the wrong attitude, swipe the cash and details from your payment cards while they’re still tucked away in a pocket.

To counter this, wallet makers are coming up with some pretty interesting “smart” features for their products. Wallets that alert you it you get too far away from them are practically old news now. RFID protection, which stops people from stealing information from a card just by standing close to you, is taking over.

You can even get separate “tracker” cards to slot in there that’ll pinpoint your wallet on a map for you. If you’re really leaning into the innovations, you can find wallets with amazing security features, like fingerprint authentication, Bluetooth integration with smartphone apps and even concealed cameras. Of course, at that point your wallet might be even more valuable than anything it’s carrying.

Breathe new life into your old wallet

At RIFT, we’re all about breathing new life into old wallets. Whatever you’re keeping in yours, from tickets from your work travel to receipts for your essential expenses, make sure you’re stuffing it with a yearly tax refund from HMRC. The new tax year is on us, so it’s the perfect time to get your refund claim rolling with RIFT.


RIFT are the UK's leading tax rebate and tax return experts.  To get a free estimate of how much cash you could be owed back from HMRC check out our tax rebate calculator