Arm Your Wallet Against Electronic Theft

RFID-blocking wallets can keep your credit and debit cards safe from unscrupulous hackers

V. Kumara Swamy Updated: Aug 27, 2020 21:27:26 IST
Arm Your Wallet Against Electronic Theft Photo: Shutterstock

Radio frequency identification (RFID)-enabled credit and debit cards have made our lives easy. You just wave your card in front of the machine and the transaction is complete—no swiping or keying-in your PIN. This contactless technology is set to grow faster with many tollbooths, supermarkets and other commercial establishments installing RFID-reading machines for payment.

The challenge

But any new technology comes with a new set of problems. It is no different with RFID cards. Since these cards work via radio frequencies, concerns have been raised about potential abuse. Pickpockets may no longer need to pick a pocket, they just have to be close enough to you so that their RFID-reading machines can hack and steal money from your cards.

Every day, lakhs of financial transactions take place every minute on RFID cards and, so far, there have been few cases of theft through hacking. But it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take precautions.

The shield

Some experts contend that carrying your cards in an aluminium foil can solve the problem, and it is an extremely attractive proposition. Unsurprisingly, wallet manufacturers too have jumped into the fray. The RFID-blocking wallets come with a layer of carbon fibre or aluminium that acts as a wall against the electromagnetic fields looking to skim your RFID-enabled cards.

How different are these wallets?

RFID-blocking wallets look no different from your regular one that you carry in your pockets. Whether you are going for a minimalist, bifold or a trifold wallet, there is hardly any change in terms of size and durability when you compare it with a non-RFID-blocking wallet. 

The wallets you are looking for could be made of cloth, polyurethane, leather or a combination of these materials, but what you should be checking in the RFID-blocking wallet are the same old things—quality, durability, size, slots for your cards and price.

Besides holding your money and cards, wallets are also a fashion accessory. So your choice will depend on your sense of style, but if you opt for an RFID-blocking one, you will be adding a layer of safety too.

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