What Are RFID Blocking Sleeves? Should You Use Them? - WhatCarding


February 06, 2018

What Are RFID Blocking Sleeves? Should You Use Them?

Credit card numbers are sacred these days. We’d never give them out to a stranger because credit card fraud and stolen identities are never more than one mistake away. But what if I told you that somebody could steal your credit card information simply by standing next to you?
Sounds farfetched, I know, but it’s certainly possible if you carry around credit cards with RFID chips embedded within them.

RFID credit cards let you make payments just by touching the card to a scanner rather than swiping across or inserting into a terminal. As with most kinds of contactless payment methods, they’re designed for convenience.
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Now imagine if a malicious person walked up to you and “scanned” the wallet in your back pocket without you realizing it. Theoretically, they could grab sensitive details that enable them to use your card without your consent. But is this really a threat worth worrying about? And if so, how do you guard against it?

How Do RFID-Blocking Wallets Work?

People have been concerned about RFID chips for many years now, and not just in the context of credit cards. All U.S. passports issued starting in 2006 have these chips that track your photo and information. Metro cards have RFID chips for quick swiping and dogs are implanted with RFID chips for safety tracking. They’re everywhere.

RFID chips work by using radio waves to communicate. The object, such as a credit card, contains an RFID tag with information, and an RFID reader uses radio waves to read the information from a tag. The key is that RFID chips have tiny electromagnetic fields, which is what makes them possible to read without having to “initiate” communications. All you need is proximity.

But do you actually need an RFID-blocking wallet? Maybe, maybe not. If your credit cards don’t have RFID chips, then obviously you don’t need one. And even if you do have RFID-chipped cards, the chance of being maliciously scanned is exceedingly low — less than 1 percent according to some. On the other hand, the possibility is there and the chance is non-zero.

You May Not Need a Brand New Wallet

It all comes down to how risk-tolerant you are. If you’re willing to pay for peace of mind, then go ahead and buy one. Peace of mind can be priceless, after all. But if you’re a penny-pincher or if you think there are more important concerns to worry about, feel free to pass these wallets over.

Then again, even if you are a penny-pincher or skeptic, you can still protect your cards without spending too much money and without having to replace your current wallet.

These RFID-blocking wallet sleeves by Alpine Rivers are extremely affordable and well worth the value. You get 12 card sleeves and 3 passport protectors for the price of two Starbucks coffees. Just slip your card into a sleeve, then slip the sleeve into your wallet. And they come with a 365-day money back guarantee.

Other Ways to Stay Safe and Protected

Because RFID technology is insecure, we recommend that you avoid using it as a contactless payment method if at all possible, especially because better alternatives exist. For example, Android Pay and Apple Pay, which both use NFC technology instead, are both safer and more convenient.

And whether you use RFID-chipped credit cards or not, it’s important that you know what credit card fraud looks like so you can spot it right away and preemptively avoid damage. Stay on top of these digital identity theft warning signsso you’re never caught off guard.

Do you believe in RFID-blocking wallets? Or is it just needless paranoia? Know of any other good wallets that we missed or overlooked? Share with us in the comments below!