What Is RFID and Why Should I Carry an RFID-Blocking Wallet?

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If you’ve ever shopped around for a new wallet to EDC, you might’ve noticed plenty of wallets out there boast RFID-blocking technology as one of their main selling points. In case you’re still not quite sure just what RFID is exactly, we’re here to fill you in. After all, your wallet is a very personal part of your gear. Before settling on something to stick with you for years, make sure you know what you’re getting into—especially if keeping your cards and personal information secure is important to you. Let’s break it down:

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What is RFID and what does it mean?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification, and it's a technology that makes your card capable of contactless payment while adding an extra layer of security. The chip stores information about the card that's needed for a transaction, and can have everything from the card number, expiration date, and even your name attached to it.

How can I tell if my cards have RFID?

All RFID-enabled cards have a symbol on them that looks like the wifi symbol, but sideways. If you've received a new debit or credit card recently, you may have noticed a small, rectangular chip embedded right in the front of the card. This larger, more prominent chip is called an EMV (Europay Visa Mastercard) and adds yet another layer of security to your card. Remember: just because you see a chip on the front of your card, doesn't mean that you have RFID, and vice versa.

Why carry an RFID-blocking wallet?

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An RFID-blocking wallet is the simplest way of protecting your cards from this type of theft. The downside to an RFID chip is the ability to read the card from afar, especially given how much personal info can be read from a single chip. Yes, it will save you time at the checkout, but thieves have found away to read the card information with a device known as a skimmer. Thieves then take this information and either use it for online purchases or to make fake cards with.

Do I need to shield my cards?

Not necessarily, but taking extra caution wouldn’t hurt. If you regularly carry RFID-enabled cards, an RFID-blocking wallet would give you an extra layer of security. There’s little downside to choosing an RFID blocking wallet over one that can’t. Because RFID blocking is easy to implement and makes no impact on the aesthetics of a wallet, most good wallets you’ll find already offer it. It’s something that’s better to have and not need than to need and not have, especially if you’d rather not risk compromising cards with sensitive information.

How do I keep my RFID-enabled cards secure?

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At the most basic level, the card can be blocked by wrapping it with aluminum foil. But that won't stand up to EDC use and you’ll constantly need to replace it. The easiest way to keep your cards secure is with a wallet that has built-in RFID protection.

Most soft leather RFID-blocking wallets have an integrated piece of metal on either side of the card, and some wallets are even made entirely from metal. Essentially, they form a faraday cage, a solid enclosure or mesh made up of conductive material that blocks electrical signals.

What else can I do to keep my cards secure?

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Once you have your RFID-protected wallet, you should be in the clear. There are some additional steps that you can take to protect your identity (and money).

  • Try switching from back pocket to front pocket carry. You're more likely to see someone trying to scan your cards (or pickpocket them) from the front.
  • Know your credit card company phone numbers. Add the customer service / fraud report numbers to your contact list, if you see suspicious activity, let your provider know sooner rather than later.
  • Inform your card company of travel dates by letting them know that you're going to be out of town, you're less likely to get your cards accidentally frozen.
  • Shop securely online. Try to shop through trusted retailers and always look for the little lock symbol in the address bar before entering your credit card information online.

This is a sponsored post presented by Kisetsu. Shop their collection of RFID-protected minimalist wallets for your EDC at the link below:

Buy RFID-Shielded Wallets

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Discussion (15 total)

It's worth the investment for your saftey. Don't bother with the rfid card sleeves they are a waste of money and make it hard to get your cards out.
Won't a piece of Mylar or even a foil candy bar wraper in your wallet also work?
Will a thin metal plate, like an insert for a car phone mount also serve the same purpose? I've bought RFID blocking cards in the past, and they just look like metal CC.
Recently i purchased one of the wallets that was featured on here, the Rever Vant Clipfold wallet,
and it's RFID protected. Love it. Sits slim and so nice =D
I used to think this was total bullshit, with a "This will never happen to me" mentality, but I've had my card numbers stolen, and used in parking meters in New York. Twice. Never cleaned me out or anything, but $5 here and $10 there... you don't notice it until you're down a few hundred or so. Now, I even make my wife carry her cards in a RFID blocking wallet.
All the data obtained by reading your chip information is encrypted using strong encryption.
It's not possible to discover your name, numeric password, card number or CVV from the data.
When you pay, the bank at the other end of the transaction de encrypts the data because they already have the key.
A blank card can be programmed with your encrypted data for use by the thief, but they can only use it "in person" for small value transactions (below the limit at which the numeric password is required - which they don't have). It can't be used to make Internet or telephone transactions because they don't know the name or number or CVV.
Just picked up a crocodile rfid wallet on amazon will update edc pic when I get time. Very sexy like.
Are there any real benefits with these over devices that work as scanner blockers like ArmourCard?
Not a problem in the uk. The only way to 'cash' what has been skimmed is through a bank, so nicely trackable.
muy buen aporte, pero si como comentan por aqui existen protectores mas afines y pienso sirve igual..
I've seen card sleeves on eBay. If they work, could be an option.
They better should work!
Tried a sheet of tin foil. it didnt work. This wallet is a great design.