Are RFID Wallets Necessary?
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell the difference between scare tactics and real concerns.
As technology develops and society changes, the difficulty of keeping up with what should really concern you can be overwhelming.
One topic that you’ve probably heard about before is the risk of RFID skimming. This is when a thief uses a strong radio scanner to steal your credit card information without doing as much as opening your bag!
While some believe this is a very real concern when traveling or visiting certain cities, others say that RFID-related crimes haven’t been reported for years. So, what is the answer? Are RFID wallets necessary?
Cons: No, You Don’t Need It!
Let’s start on the negative side of this debate, with the opinions of those who believe that RFID wallets are not necessary to protect your credit card information.
RFID Skimming is Rare
The main reason that some people argue against the necessity of an RFID-blocking wallet is that RFID skimming is rarely—if ever—reported as a crime in most regions. What do we mean by this?
More often than not, the people that you see showing off how RFID can protect you are simulating a crime that doesn’t have a very high rate of happening at all. These security experts are showing vulnerability in a product, but it is a vulnerability that isn’t all that effective for thieves, so it isn’t common.
Cards Are Changing
Another reason that some say RFID wallets are not necessary is that credit card companies are moving towards a chip-and-pin style of security rather than a contactless RFID chip style. Once this change is complete, the current type of RFID skimmers wouldn’t be able to be used effectively, and it is unlikely that a new type of skimmer would be made.
Better Ways to Steal
Finally, and most importantly, many believe that thieves simply have better and more efficient ways to make money through fraud. In the case of current RFID chips, most thieves wouldn’t be able to get away with more than one transaction before the card is blocked or the RFID-generated security codes change.
Why would a thief go through so much effort for so little reward, right? If that’s the case, are RFID wallets necessary? Not if you agree with everything that we just covered in this Cons section! But then again, you have to remember that there are two sides to every story!
Pros: Yes, It Works!
On the flip side, there are those that truly and completely believe that RFID-blocking technology can be a huge help to have in your wallet to protect you from being scammed.
You Have RFID Cards or Documents
If you know for sure that you carry RFID cards or documents with you, such as an access card for a secure building or a credit card, then owning an RFID-blocking wallet is worth it because it can secure these cards. Even if reported cases of RFID skimming are far and few between, that does not mean that it doesn’t happen!
If you are sure that you have information that is secured using RFID technology, there’s no reason not to protect it from potential crime or theft.
Most people who recommend RFID wallets are clear that it doesn’t have to be an RFID wallet that you use to protect your cards. Rather, they simply recommend that you protect them!
Whether you try to use metal-infused RFID-blocking wallets or a sheet of aluminum foil to protect you, having some sort of protection from card skimming is the key.
Lost in a Crowd
DIY security analysts have shown that you can make your own DIY scanner that can read cards from a good distance away. However, these are usually very large scanners with large antennas that would be seen in most situations.
If you are going to be traveling in very packed and dense areas, though, it will become much easier for a thief to find a way to skim your card without you knowing anything even happened. If you are expected to be in these types of situations, then using an RFID wallet is smart.
Are RFID Wallets Necessary: To Buy or Not to Buy?
Ultimately, it is your choice to decide whether or not to buy into the story of RFID-blocking wallets. That being said, we have our own opinion about RFID wallets. Despite evidence on either side, we have just one simple question: Why not use one?
There is no harm in using an RFID wallet even if you aren’t 100% sure that you’ll need it. If you think there is a chance that you could have your card information stolen in a situation, having an RFID-blocking wallet will protect both your wallet and your mind.
Stop worrying about buying a tool that could protect you. Even if you don’t absolutely need an RFID wallet, there’s no reason that you cannot use one for protection, and we recommend that you do invest in one just in case!
Do I Need RFID Wallets? Three Reasons to Choose Yes
Everyone has their own opinion about what is right and what is wrong. From the best flavor of ice cream to the right way to tie your shoes, there isn’t anything that doesn’t cause some difference of opinions at one point or another.
One point of contention when it comes to both travel and wallets surrounds RFID wallets. Do I need RFID wallets? This is a question that many people find themselves asking as they begin to research the various features available in different types of wallets, but finding the answer isn’t as simple as asking the question.
Do I Need RFID Wallets?
Wondering whether or not you need an RFID-blocking wallet? While there are countless reasons why you might not need one, we believe that these three reasons will help you see why you should definitely buy an RFID wallet anyway.
You Have RFID-enabled Credit Cards
It’s true, as the skeptics of RFID say, less than 5% of cards currently in circulation use RFID technology. Most have moved on to EMV, a type of chip-and-sign technology, instead. Still, that does not mean that you do not have a card that works.
Many people love RFID cards because they are quick and easy to use. All that you need to do is tap the card up to the reader, and you can pay for something in just an instant.
While most have moved to this type of touch-and-go payment over to their mobile phones, there are people who still have their RFID-enabled cards on them for when their phone is dead, or they simply want to get through a transaction very quickly.
If you check your cards and discover that you have an RFID card, you have a great reason to want to protect it. If you don’t, then the choice is a little less important, but you still might want to go for RFID just in case you ever get an RFID-enabled card.
You Use Tap Cards for Your Office or Transportation
While most articles focus on the risk of losing your credit card information to RFID skimmers, they fail to mention that you can also lose access information for things, such as secure buildings that you use a tap card to enter, a transportation card, or any other card that you simply touch to a scan pad to use.
Sure, it’s not as scary to think about someone having access to these things, but it is still a risk. When there is a risk, the smart thing to do is always to prevent that risk from turning into a real problem. You can do this by investing in a smart and chic RFID-blocking wallet.
You Don’t Want to Worry
Security is very complicated. Worrying about every little detail can become excessive very quickly, but there are times when the over-dramatic worries of one can seem like pointless babble to another. So, where does RFID blocking fall on this scale?
Often, buying into a home protection system is less about actually preventing anyone from entering your home, and more about making yourself and your family feel comfortable and secure while inside of your home.
As mentioned, there aren’t a lot of statistics out there that point to RFID skimming as a serious problem. In fact, some think that RFID technology is so absolute at this point that thieves wouldn’t even bother to see how it works.
Still, there is always going to be that thought in the back of your mind—the thought that reminds you that your information could be at risk. Worrying about something like that can make you paranoid, anxious, and reluctant to go exploring as much as you would normally like to. Who wants to live a life of fear?
If you are something that often worries about what could happen, you may find it useful to choose a wallet that RFID-blocking technology. Even if it does nothing, having the knowledge that your cards are safe can help you to feel more comfortable when out of the house.
As you can see, nothing that we are saying today says that you absolutely must have an RFID-blocking wallet. In fact, we know that this technology is not a requirement. Still, we recommend that everyone has an RFID wallet over a non-secure wallet.
Even if the risk of having your card’s skimmed without an RFID wallet is less than 5%, why let there be a risk at all? Owning a simple wallet can help to protect you, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to keep that protection working.
It’s up to you to choose whether or not you want to use an RFID wallet. These days, there are more wallets that are enabled with RFID protection than non-RFID wallets, so you may not have much of a choice about this protection options anyways!
Do I need an RFID wallet?
Tap-and-go payment systems make it easier than ever to buy everyday necessities and to splurge on luxuries. In 2019, retailers, service providers, and even government agencies realize the benefits of giving people easy ways to pay. Consider the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates public buses and trains in the state of New York. The MTA recently rolled out a contactless payment or tap-and-go system. Riders can purchase tickets with an app on their phones, or pay with a quick tap of an RFID-enabled credit card. The MTA wants to make using public transit convenient. But there are trade-offs to payment systems that seem effortless to users. RFID wallets, badge holders, and card sleeves are designed to deal with these trade-offs.
With the increasing threat of electronic pickpocketing (also called RFID skimming) and the rising possibilities of card clash, protection for your RFID cards is certainly a good idea. Although you’ve probably carried RFID-enabled payment cards and identification for quite some time, the risks have never been greater. Safeguarding your money and information is easy and inexpensive, and a bit like opting for the extra insurance on a rental car. You may not need it, but you don’t want to be without it if and when you do.
What is RFID skimming?
Pickpocketing is risky, and any thief has to be highly skilled just to attempt it. When traveling or visiting a busy place, people are generally aware of the threat of pickpockets and take steps to protect themselves. But electronic pickpocketing is hard to detect and easy for a thief to execute with some simple gadgetry. In addition, the risk is minimal. With a homemade RFID reader, a thief can scan the cards in your wallet or purse from a short distance. If your wallet is in your back pocket, it’s in a particularly vulnerable spot. There’s a good chance you’d never even see a person who was stealing your credit cards. Search for “RFID skimming” on YouTube and you’ll see several videos demonstrating the ease with which someone can steal a credit card number in just about any public space.
What is card clash?
Most people probably carry several RFID cards in their wallets or purses. Credit and debit cards, driver’s licenses, passports, and access cards often have RFID tags. So, the odds are good that you have more than one of these with you wherever you go. And that can create problems at public transit gates and other places where you need to scan a card to board the bus, get on a train, or enter a restricted area. Card clash occurs when the RFID reader scans more than one tag. When that happens, the results can vary, but they’re never good. If you’re trying to pay with a credit card and have several in your wallet, the charge may go through on the wrong card. Also if the scanner at the metro scans one card boarding and another card leaving the station, you can end up getting charged for two maximum distance rides as the system doesn’t know if you were boarding or departing.
How can I prevent card clash?
One way to prevent card clash is to keep RFID cards separated. This is a surefire method, but it’s not practical to carry each one of your cards in a different place. A better option is to use an RFID wallet with independent shielding for each card, which is a feature of every ID Stronghold wallet. Individual RFID-blocking card sleeves are also available.
Is an RFID wallet really all I need?
RFID skimming and card clash are serious problems, but there’s an easy solution. An RFID-blocking product effectively shields your cards from electronic pickpocketing and prevents card clash. RFID wallets and purses don’t look different or cost any more than regular products, but they aren’t vulnerable to digital theft. Securing your money and identity is a no-brainer.