Do You Need RFID Blocking Wallets or Bags for Travel?
Posted on April 27 2017
The short answer is “No, don’t waste your money” and here’s why.
RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) technology is a wireless means of transmitting information from one device to another using an RFID chip and a scanner. The myth is that a clever thief can scan your wallet and pick up your credit card number or passport information without your knowledge. Luggage and travel companies have been pushing this fear tactic for years so they can continue to sell overpriced RFID blocking bags and wallets to the scared, uneducated traveler. The truth is far less sinister but would put them out of business.
There was, in fact, a brief period in time where credit card companies built RFID chips into their cards. This method never caught on with the public so they stopped producing cards with this capability. Unless you have a really, really old credit card that says it is RFID capable, your card isn’t able to transmit any information to an RFID scanner. The magnetic strip and the chip are completely unsusceptible to RFID scanning as well. Even if you do have an RFID enabled credit card, the information transferred is encrypted so there’s still very little to worry about.
Now let’s move on to those RFID blocking passport wallets. If you’re from the U.S., the RFID chip in your passport doesn’t contain personal information, rather only a number that is linked to a database at the U.S. Department of State. This actually improves the security of your personal information by making it very difficult to counterfeit or copy your passport. Some other countries include information like your name and city of birth but this information is also encrypted, meaning anyone who steals it can’t even read it.
Long story short, don’t believe the lies and don’t waste your money. Find an honest company making a normal bag or wallet that you like and forget the mythical RFID scare tactics that have been burned into