Most people try to take precautions when carrying cash or credit cards out in public. Few people walk through the grocery store with their purses wide open and unattended in their shopping carts. Nor do they walk through a crowded concert venue with their wallets visible and easily accessible in a back pocket.
It’s always wise to protect yourself against an old fashioned pickpocket. But when was the last time you thought about protecting yourself against electronic pickpocketing?
There are numerous ways to shield yourself against identity theft and theft of your credit and debit card information, one of the most common being RFID wallets that you can easily make from faraday fabric.
What is an RFID wallet, and why do I need one?
It would be beneficial if you had an RFID wallet to protect yourself against RFID skimming. RFID stands for radio-frequency identification, which, simply put, is a wireless way to use radio frequency waves for the transfer of data. RFID skimming is the process of unlawfully obtaining someone’s personal information, like credit or debit card information, without ever making contact with the person or their cards.
These modern day electronic pickpockets can lift your card information as they walk past you. Having your cards safely stored in an RFID wallet can block data transmission and stop them from accessing your information.
Is RFID skimming a real threat?
Not only is RFID skimming a valid threat, but it’s also one that has been rapidly increasing in recent years. It requires very little technical expertise. The technology that wirelessly scans payment cards is readily available, making it easier to steal money than hacking a website or skimming money from an ATM.
How do these wallets work?
RFID wallets work by acting as a Faraday cage, a grounded screen made of metal that prevents electromagnetic and electrostatic fields from interacting with your cards. They contain jamming devices that protect the payment card from being scanned.
What features should I look for in an RFID wallet?
You can effectively stop harmful electronic skimming by choosing a wallet with RFID blocking technology that protects your credit and debit cards from being remotely accessed. Look for a wallet made of high-quality material, like leather, and one that is slim and comfortable to carry.
There will be other features that you might find important, like a tracker, making your wallet nearly impossible to lose, or aluminum cardholders that will fan your cards out with a simple click of a button. But the most critical function of your RFID wallet is to insulate your cards from being electronically lifted.
Are there any disadvantages in carrying an RFID wallet?
There are no downsides to having an RFID wallet. People commonly ask if they create a problem with airport security, but they do not. As long as you take it out of your pocket or purse and place it on the TSA conveyor belt, it will pass through security with no problem.
Another recurring question that comes up is whether or not RFID wallets cause damage to your debit or credit cards. They do not. Early versions of the RFID wallets had simple magnetic closures that locked the wallets. Those magnets could sometimes interfere with the magnetic strip used in some terminals but didn’t interfere with the RFID chip.
Newer models are made differently and prevent data transmission with no risk of damaging any part of the cards.
Nothing to lose.
With nothing to lose but worry and nothing to gain but peace of mind, there’s no reason not to protect yourself by choosing a wallet that will block harmful RFID and protect your payment cards. Carrying your debit and credit cards in an RFID wallet keeps them safe from electronic pickpockets and ensures your private information remains private.