A few years ago if you mentioned a RFID chip most people would look at you like a deer in the headlights, it was that unknown. However, in today’s world, everything is laced with the chips. Your driver’s license has one (on the back right corner), your credit cards have one, and even some of your clothes have RFID chips within them. And regardless of whether or not you approve of the chip or not, the fact of the matter is that there is a lot of information about you contained within them. As a result of the massive information that is stored within the RRID chip, it is no surprise that security measures have been invented to protect this information.
What is a RFID-Blocking Wallet?
Identity theft is no longer someone taking your bank card and then purchasing a credit card and running up a huge bill that way (though it is still done). Instead a person’s identity is more often taken from a person without even touching the wallet. RFID scanners can detect a chip within a person’s wallet and then scan the personal information into the device. This results in the theft of the information being able to be used for an assortment of crimes ranging from ordering a replacement card (as they would have your address, social, and bank account number) to applying for government benefits in your name. More often than naught, the theft is used to make online purchases where a physical card is not needed (and only personal information and a bank number and CVC code is required).
RFID-blocking wallets are wallets which are specifically designed to block scanners from reading the information on the RFID chips. This minimizes the risk of fraud and identity theft from anyone using a scanner to pick up information. And while there have been a few outrageous suggestions formulated by the media and the news of how to protect your slim wallet from being hacked by a RFID scanner or device including wrapping each card in aluminum foil, only a wallet which is specifically designed to block the RFID readers can ensure that the information will not be stolen.
But how does it work?
The RFID-blocking wallet works by creating a layer (usually a form of metal though extremely thin) between the leather binding. It is important to note that due to the material used to block the RFID chip that there will be a bit of noise similar to the crinkling of paper which you may hear on these wallets. However, general use may or may not give off a sound. In many cases you will be able to open and close the wallet without incident. It is only when you flip through the sections of the wallet (which is more in line with the “standardized” wallet than it is with the leather wallet that you will hear anything.
When you purchase a RDIF-blocking wallet, it is critical that you look at the binding and the artistry of the design. If the stitching is poor quality and comes undone, then the protective layer will not have a great effect. Specific to the slim wallets and the compact wallets, there needs to be a layer on the outer material and (if a non-folding wallet) protection on the card separators to keep the information in the RFID chips secure.
Do you need an RFID-blocking wallet?
Well, I guess that would really depend on how loaded your bank account is and how good your credit score is. If you value either of these then the answer is yes, you need to have an RFID-blocking wallet. However, if you only have .08 in your bank account and your credit score is in the 400s or so, I would not worry too much about it in terms of people stealing your money or applying for a loan. Where I would say that an RFID-blocking wallet is universal in its need is in securing the information about the address, social security, and such. There is only one of you, so do not give a person a chance to ruin your good name.
For more information about the RFID-blocking wallet you should talk to your local professional leather artisan about the benefits and disadvantages of using the blocker in your product.