As contactless payment cards have become more common, a market for wallets, card sleeves or clothing that protect personal data has grown up.
Contactless cards use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to transmit personal information to card readers. Some people are nervous about fraudsters grabbing their data and so opt for card holders that block RFID signals; others argue this risk has been exaggerated and that no special tech is needed to protect the cards.
Here are three considerations for those who are still undecided about whether to invest in an RFID-protected wallet or sleeve.
1. Your personal risk profile
Banking and financial trade association UK Finance notes there have been no verified reports of fraudsters taking money from somebody’s contactless card in the UK by bumping in to them using an RFID-reader – a technique known as ‘skimming’. Moreover, most cards have security measures that ensure payments are fully-traceable and legal safeguards to help victims recoup stolen money. Even so, skimming is technically possible and the UK press has reported alleged cases, albeit often related to travel abroad. So taking precautions and buying RFID-blocking wallet tech may be prudent – but it really depends on what risk you perceive.
2. Sharpen up your look while protecting your data
A common recommendation to those who are nervous about skimmers is to simply encase their contactless cards in tinfoil or kitchen foil rather than buy RFID protection. While this may work, most people will agree tinfoil is not a stylish addition to a wallet. Indeed, one of the customised card-sleeves on the market will certainly give you a better-looking wallet, while ensuring you do not have to unwrap your cards like leftovers in the fridge. So, it may be better to invest in proper RFID-blocking tech that looks good and allays your worries about data theft, rather than just making do with a substitute.
3. Making modern living easier
The first generation of RFID-blocking wallets often forced people to remove their cards from the holders and separate them from metal objects or other contactless cards before paying. All of this made other aspects of life, such as swiping in and out of the London underground tube stations, more inconvenient. The new generation of RFID-blocking wallets however, has been designed with solving the inconvenience of contactless in mind. The best designs allow users to keep cards in the protective wallet while paying, making contactless payment much easier.
If you decide to buy RFID-blocking technology, one startup that delivers all of the above is RFID Cloaked using their unique RFIDSecur material. Their contactless blocking cards can be placed alongside your contactless bank card, in your wallet, purse or ID holder, guaranteeing protection against theft of your information or unauthorised payments while still allowing you – and only you – full use of your cards. They also come in a range of stylish designs.
The team is now working on their top secret new-design RFID wallet, which offers a range of exciting next-gen features. To get exclusive access to this new line, be sure to back them at their new KickStarter campaign or see the latest version and details in our online shop.