The growth of contactless payment has been on the rise and has become the new go-to. In fact, tap-to-pay transactionsgrew by a whopping 150%from 2019 to 2021.
These digital payments may have made in-person shopping more convenient, but it's also important to consider the technology that powers all those new transactions.
RFID chips are an easy way to share your card's financial data at a point of sale—but it can also share that same data with would-be thieves, with or without your knowledge.
That's where an RFID wallet comes in.
These protective wallets can keep your personal information safe on the go without a second thought. But what is an RFID wallet anyway, and do you need one in 2023? Let's look at the ins and outs of this "metal wallet" technology and why it's wise to protect your cards whenever possible.
What Is RFID?
Let's start with the basics: RFID is an acronym for "radio-frequency identification."
There are two main components to this wireless system. First are RFID tags, or smart labels, which store encoded data.
The other crucial component is the RFID reader, which consists of a scanning antenna and transceiver. RFID readers can be fixed or mobile, but both types transmit signals using radio waves to the RFID tag. The activated RFID tag then sends a signal back to the reader, including the data to be translated.
RFID is crucial for a vast range of applications. Everything from warehouse inventory management to tagging wildlife couldn't happen without it, and it'scrucial in healthcare settings.
Of course, as we've noted above, RFID is also essential in our everyday lives: without it, we wouldn't be able to use contactless payments with credit cards. RFID is also a security component in some types of driver's licenses. It even allows immigration officers to scan the chip inside your passport to see your personal details and where you've traveled.
What Is RFID Skimming?
As you might imagine, our personal information is helpful for retailers and immigration officers to access at a glance. However, it's also tempting for tech-savvy thieves!
Anyone wanting to get their hands on your private information and credit card details only require the right tools to read the associated RFID tag. Even worse, because this can happen fast, it's a form of data theft you might not notice until it's too late.
This process is called "RFID skimming," a type of digital pickpocketing. Thieves with the right RFID reader might not even need to get their hands on your card or passport to read the data.
Before you panic, it's worth noting that the read range for an RFID tag isn't far. The RFID tags in credit cards and passports are "passive" RFID tags. In other words, these tags don't have their own battery source, so they get power from the RFID reader's electromagnetic waves.
Passive tags range anywhere from a few centimeters to a few inches. In other words, thieves won't be able to steal your information remotely: they'll need to get close to you for the "skimming" to work.
Protect Your Credit Cards and Passport With an RFID Wallet
If you're hoping to protect your personal information, the best way is by "shielding" your credit cards and passports from the signals of any nearby RFID readers. This allows you to prevent these readers from accessing your information until you're ready to take your card out to make a payment.
That's where RFID wallets can help. The name is a bit of a misnomer: the wallet itself doesn't have RFID—instead, it shields your cards or passport from RFID. For this reason, you might see these wallets labeled as "RFID blocking wallets".
RFID-blocking wallets work through Faraday cage technology—a metal mesh blend is woven through the fabric to block electromagnetic fields. The metal fabric prevents communication between the RFID chip on your card or passport and any nearby RFID scanners, making it an ideal credit card wallet.
Do You Need an RFID Wallet in 2023?
Investing in an RFID wallet is an obvious choice when protecting your passport; this is especially true if you're hoping for instant protection while traveling. In addition, if your credit cards use contactless pay, getting an RFID wallet should be a no-brainer for a few reasons.
Your Cards May Have RFID Chips
While RFID blocking may not have been necessary for the days of swipe cards, many banks are moving toward smart pay systems due to enhanced security measures. As a result, it's more likely than ever that your credit cards contain an RFID tag.
If you're unsure whether your card has RFID capabilities, note that you can't always tell based on the rectangular chip, whichmay be an EMV chip.
However, you might be able to make an educated guess based on the sideways "PayPass" logo, which looks like a sideways WiFi symbol. You can also try using your card with a PayPass reader retailer. You can contact your credit card issuer for more information if you're uncertain.
An Instant Shield Against RFID Skimming
No one's arguing that RFID skimming is a rampant threat: there are much easier ways to steal someone's data than getting your hands on an RFID reader and hoping to brush it against a stranger's wallet. Alternatives like ATM skimming, for example, are often more effective at capturing a more significant volume of card information.
Even better, most modern credit cards no longer send your unencrypted credit card number to an RFID reader. Instead, they send a one-time code that validates the transaction, meaning a thief is limited to a single unique purchase. In other words, they wouldn't be able to make multiple large payments or get their hands on your card number or further personal details.
Even so, the hassle of fighting fraudulent purchases—or worse, dealing with stolen passport information—is more than enough to validate an RFID wallet's cost. RFID wallets offer instant security, making it impossible for anyone to read your cards or passport without your consent as long as the items remain tucked away.
Added Benefits of an RFID Wallet
Sure, you're buying an RFID wallet for the main benefit of protection. However, that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of their other key benefits as well:
Simple, Modern Styles
Unlike your everyday low-quality wallets, RFID wallets focus on quality construction and a sleek, modern finish that appeals to a broad group of consumers.
As a result, they often have a sleek, minimalist design that makes them easy to slip into and out of your pocket with no added bulk. The high-class look of amoney clip leather wallet orpassport wallet may be just your style. Both minimalist wallets have premium stitching and cut card slots for a slim design.
For the avid traveler looking to store and protect travel documents and ID cards, theSLNT money belt fanny pack securely holds cards and cash with room to spare.
RFID wallets use cutting-edge materials to construct the Faraday cage that keeps your credit cards and passport safe. As a valuable side benefit, the resulting fabric is more durable than a cheap wallet's plastic or thin leather.
This quality construction, in turn, means better physical protection for your credit cards, passport, cash, and everything else in your wallet. Premium craftsmanship translates to a wallet with a longer lifespan—one that can withstand the wear and tear of your busy travels and lifestyle.
Peace of Mind
It's hard to overstate the extra peace of mind that total protection can offer.
Suppose you're the type of person always looking for new ways toincrease your personal security. In that case, the thought of a thief stealing your credit card or passport information just by brushing against you might cause significant worry.
Whether you're planning to walk around a crowded mall or worried about your data getting stolen during your travels, a simple RFID wallet can keep these fears at bay. When the last thing you want is the nightmare of making calls to report stolen information, all you need to do is slip your card or passport into the protective sleeve of a SLNT wallet.
Get Your Hands on the Best RFID Wallets Available
At the end of the day, anyone with a passport or smart pay credit card should get their hands on some extra protection. If you only need to keep your data safe by sliding your items into an RFID wallet, why not invest in one as a security tool?
Our sleek and minimalRFID wallets come in multiple styles, and each features SLNT® RFID-blocking technology for ultimate security. Protect your credit cards, passport, and more by finding the best RFID passport for your needs in our collection!