RFID is a well-known system that works on the principle of electromagnetic waves. It has brought every individual to seek its benefit by using it in their credit cards, bus passes, passports, and many other identification tools. It has undoubtedly given rise to contactless transactions and provides a hassle-free experience of proceedings. However, these are not the only reasons for its increasing popularity since we also come across a negative side of the RFID system.
As much as it has created ease for the users, it has also made it convenient for criminals to summon all your data without having physical contact with you. And just like that, all your bank credit and data can be in the third party's hand. Luckily, to avoid the negative consequences of RFID, you can use an RFID protected wallet and protect your credentials from criminals.
How to tell if your wallet is RFID protected? The simple way is to bring it across an RFID scanner/reader while placing the credit card inside it. If you see any signals transmitting, you can tell that the wallet is not RFID protected.
What is RFID?
RFID is the abbreviation for radio frequency identification, which is the new way of carrying out transactional activities and other identifications of objects that consist of tags. This technology uses electromagnetic signals to identify the details.
Earlier, we used to have bar codes encrypted on our passports, credit cards, and other similar cards. These bar codes required us to swipe the cards in a machine to get our information, and only then we would be able to complete our identification and other financial transactions.
Now that things have developed incredibly, we have reached a point where we can tap our cards on a card scanner and get done with all our activities in less than a minute. Thanks to the RFID chip, the card readers could read the particular radio frequency of your ID that comes out of your card and complete the transactions in no time.
The RFID technology has saved us from entering our pins or swiping our cards each time we purchase or perform a similar task, thereby saving our time. It is a friendly and readily accessible way of carrying out our transactions. Nonetheless, it brings a sense of fear every time you think about its downside.
What is RFID Skimming?
RFID skimming is when someone tries to illegally get hold of your data through the credit cards, passports, or Id cards that work on an RFID chip. It can occur when someone wants to gain access to your information or even steal your identity. These criminals have found an easy way to reach your bank details by using the RFID readers simply by passing through your way.
Once they succeed in transmitting your signals through the scanners, they will be able to use your credit cards.
How Does the RFID System Work?
We now know what an RFID chip is, but how does it work?
An RFID system works on the basis of two components named tag and a reader. All of the information is present in the tag, and has two types, a passive and a battery-powered tag. The information is sent to the reader using radio wave energy in a passive tag.
While in a battery-powered tag, we see the same data transmission process, but the battery acts as a source. When the reader receives all the information, it will feed all the data to an RFID computer system.
How to Tell if Your Wallet is RFID Protected
There are a few ways to tell if your wallet is RFID protected.
The first is to get yourself an RFID reader and an antenna and start by putting your credit cards inside your wallet. Take this wallet closer to the RFID scanner and check if it receives any signals. Next, alter the frequencies on the reader and keep on checking for any signals to pass through. If you notice no signals coming through, you should know that your wallet is RFID protected.
If there seems to be no way for you to buy an RFID scanner, a much easier way to check if your wallet is RFID protected or not is to read the product details of your wallet. It has become common for brands to label their wallets as 'RFID protected' to inform you beforehand. If you find nothing related to it, your wallet is not one with RFID protection.
Another easy and handy way to have an RFID wallet is to take things into your own hands, and by that, I mean to say is begin making one for yourself. All you need is duct tape, aluminum foil, and packaging tape. The aluminum foil will work as a shield by preventing radio signals from passing through it. Attach these, and it should look like a pouch; then, place it inside your wallet or your cardholders where you keep your credit cards.
In addition to that, if you want to avoid any hustle, you can also opt for RFID protection cards designed only to keep your wallet away from skimmers. These cards will block any RFID signal from transmitting to a scanner.
Lastly, there is always an option for getting an RFID blocking wallet. It will be a lot more convenient and secure at the same time.
What is an RFID Blocking Wallet?
An RFID wallet is a particular wallet that is made highly available in the market for people to keep their credentials safe from criminals who maliciously try to steal their data and get access to their personal data.
In terms of appearance, an RFID wallet will look exactly like your regular wallet, such as bifold or a front pocket wallet; however, it sets out differently by restricting the radio waves from being broadcasted out of your cards. Thus, protecting you from any theft that might take place.
The main idea behind the RFID wallets is that they have a wire or a foil attached under the surface of these wallets that immediately block any radio signal from reaching an RFID reader. These signals are not allowed to surpass because the material used on the surface is usually carbon fiber or aluminum, which absorbs the radio signals and does not let them exceed any further. We commonly know this blocking part as the Faraday cage.
Is an RFID Blocking Wallet Necessary?
While most credit and debit cards come with a microchip that authorizes more secure and safe transactions, many contactless payment cards also have chip-and-pin protection, known as an EMV, to ensure further safeguarding.
On the other hand, these cards also generate unique and encrypted code each time a transaction takes place, which means that the chances of RFID theft are few.
Although there are much easier and more profitable techniques to take your data, there are still chances that these criminals might steal your data wirelessly, so it's always better to have an RFID blocking wallet.
With the advancement of technology, we surely gain some real benefits, but what makes matters worse is that there is always something opposing that particular idea of technology. Thankfully, we can counter the negative part by taking protective measures. Of course, having an RFID protected wallet comes at the top.
Have one to ensure your safety at all times.