With the rash of credit card breaches facing modern consumers, good credit card security is an essential part of data hygiene for anyone with a bank account. Despite precautions, fraudsters and thieves are always looking for new ways to extract your personal information, and RFID hacking is one of them. In this context, are new devices such as RFID-blocking wallet sleeves a new essential piece of gear for travelers wishing to stay safe? 

What is RFID hacking?

Radio-frequency identification, or RFID, is a relatively common and secure type of tech; they’re in touch-scan credit cards, animal tracking chips, and passports, and in many ways they make life easier. They use simple radio waves to communicate with a nearby reader to transmit data.

Hackers can hijack the RFID scanning process with custom scanners that lift your data if they’re close enough to your wallet to scan the chip and steal your credit card information. It’s modern pickpocketing, taken to the digital era. RFID chip hackers scan the chips and extract the information without you ever noticing.

How can you stop theft?

Fortunately, radio waves are easy enough to disrupt to prevent hackers from getting access to your personal information. Special material can block the scanners from lifting your information, and you can find them in a few formats.

RFID-blocking wallet sleeves are probably the cheapest option. You buy a set of them for a few bucks, slip them into your wallet or passport, and call yourself protected. That said, to really avoid the potential theft of your data, we recommend purchasing RFID-blocking wallets.

These high-tech wallets have a special lining that blocks radio frequency scanners, but they’re more reliable than sleeves because they eliminate human error by sewing the material into the wallet itself. Where your wallet is, so is the protective lining. They’re also better looking, and come in a huge variety of styles and options.

Our verdict:

Both options work against would-be theft, but we prefer the wallet option for its reliability, convenience, and style. Additionally, these wallets make great gifts. Nothing says “I love you” like radio frequency-blocking money containers– isn’t that the old adage? 

Whatever option you go for, if you have RFID chip cards, be sure you get some kind of protection for them, especially if you’re traveling to major city centers where this variety of theft is unfortunately more common.

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