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Are RFID-Blocking Wallets Worth It?

posted by Aris Gonzales on March 07, 2024

Classic, bulky wallets are becoming a thing of the past as most transactions go cashless. However, one segment promises long-term relevance: RFID-blocking wallets.

As RFID systems proliferate, so do products claiming to protect against RFID theft. This raises the question: How significant is the risk of RFID credit card crime?

What is RFID?

RFID, or Radio Frequency Identification, is a wireless communication technology that harnesses radio waves to automatically identify tags in objects. It uses a tag (e.g., on your credit card or smartphone, in this case) and a scanner to read and process information. NFC (Near-Field Communication), which is the technology you are more likely to see referenced on your consumer products, is a subset of RFID.

Thanks to this tech, we are reaping the benefits of contactless payments in stores, mass transit stations, and everywhere else RFID systems are available. You’re on your way after paying with just a single tap.

Read more: How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Cloned

Is RFID Skimming a Real Threat?

Many purchase RFID-blocking wallets because they fear data theft via RFID skimming. But it turns out that these concerns aren’t much of a real-life threat, according to digital security experts.

Roger Grimes, a computer security expert at KnowBe4, a cybersecurity consulting company, told Techlicious that purchasing RFID shield products is a waste of time and money. Grimes explains that he has yet to encounter recorded RFID credit card crime and that manufacturers of RFID-related products thrive on the assumed risks of RFID skimming and not on actual crime data.

Even if someone used a scanner, RFID interception would yield data that is insufficient for fraudulent transactions. Most credit cards and phones that use RFID encrypt the data they transmit and only send one-time purchase authentication codes. Plus, NFC-enabled cards and products have a maximum range of a few inches, requiring a scanner to be extremely close to read any data.

All this makes RFID theft highly ineffective as a threat mechanism - thieves are much better off spending their effort on traditional scams and hacking opportunities.

Can Wallets Effectively Block RFID Scanners?

While RFID skimming protection doesn't offer much value at this point, RFID-blocking wallets do offer protection against scanners. Even leather can slightly disrupt RFID signals, but specialized wallets do more by using materials specifically designed to block radio signals, like metal foil or carbon fiber, for enhanced protection.

Read more: What to Do When Your VPN Interferes with WiFi Calls

My RFID-Blocking wallet recommendations

Despite the questionable necessity of their RFID-protection feature, RFID wallets are still practical for organizing the numerous cards that we carry for cashless payments. So if you're going to carry a wallet anyway, and you find one you like that also offers RFID protection, there certainly is no downside.

Here are three inexpensive RFID wallets I recommend for their overall functionality and good looks.

Flancci AirTag Wallet

Flancci AirTag Wallet

The Flacci Airtag Wallet addresses two tech needs: RFID blocking and wallet tracking. Made of carbon fiber, it has a cutout so you can slip an AirTag inside while minimizing bulk. This slim pocket wallet, measuring 2.13 x 3.38 x 0.25 inches, stores up to 15 cards and comes with a money clip on the back to hold everything together. Choose from five colors: Carbon Fiber (black), Red, Blue, Green, or White.

Price: $19.99

Check price on Amazon button

FurArt Zipper Wallet

FurArt Zipper Wallet

If you like to keep things zipped up, the FurArt Zipper Wallet is a mini clutch. Measuring 3.0 x 4.1 x 1.1 inches, the wallet can be stowed in your bag without worrying about your cards or cash falling out. It can hold up to 13 cards and has a sleeve on the outside for your ID. The soft, water-resistant faux leather wallet comes in 33 different colors and patterns.

Price: $14.99

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Buffway Slim Minimalist Front Pocket RFID Blocking Leather Wallet

Buffway Slim Minimalist Front Pocket RFID Blocking Leather Wallet

If you’re a minimalist like me, you’ll appreciate this sleek faux leather wallet from Buffway. It measures just 3.13 x 4.44 x 0.11 inches and holds up to seven cards, plus a front sleeve for your ID. It’s ideal for carrying around just your usual cards. You can stash it in any of your pockets, and you're good to go. Choose from 35 colors and textures, including suede and carbon fiber.

Price: $19.99, on sale for $15.99

Check price on Amazon button

[Image credit: Buffway, Flancci, and FurArt]

Aris Gonzales is a freelance writer with three years of experience covering technology, including gadgets, gaming, and automotive technology.


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Discussion loading


From GS4 on March 12, 2024 :: 5:15 pm

One issue that I have found with metal in wallets, like what is potentially being used in a RFID wallet, is that they set off the regular airport metal detector.

I have TSA pre so I can walk through with non-metal stuff in my pockets.  I’m having a difficult time now finding a cheap wallet on Amazon that doesn’t have RFID which means I have to take my wallet out going through security. 

That’s one more thing that I don’t want to take off my person, and one more thing I have to store away to send through the scanner.


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