Do RFID Blocking Wallets Really Work?

Do RFID Blocking Wallets Really Work?

RFID (radio-frequency identification) technology will be everywhere in 2024. You will use it to access buildings and sports arenas. It will appear in animal identification chips. It will even be found in public transport and hospitals (surgery). 

So, RFID-blocking technology is expected to form part of modern minimalist wallets. While it is a common technology for credit cards and keycards, RFID skimming is always risky. Thieves can steal your information using RFID scanners if they are close enough. 

RFID-blocking wallets help you protect your information and, by default, your money by incorporating a material that blocks RFID signals. 

But do these wallets work?

What Is RFID and How Does It Work?

RFID blocking

To understand how RFID wallets work, you must first understand how RFID technology works. RFID uses radio waves to transmit data wirelessly. This data is stored on microchips that are embedded in objects and animals.

An RFID reader (connected to a network) emits radio waves that interact with a chip. This interaction activates the chip so that it can read the data encoded within. Typically, this data identifies a person, provides product information, or provides sensor readings.

RFID operates over long distances. By contrast, another technology known as NFC (near-field communication) only works when a scanner and a chip are close together. This is why NFC technology is used for contactless payments.

RFID chips are passive because they only activate when a radio wave reaches them. They also store small amounts of data that are transmitted when activated.

The Threat: Is RFID Skimming a Real Concern?

RFID is a convenient technology. However, it is highly vulnerable to RFID skimming. Even though RFID chips do not hold large amounts of information, a smart thief could still exploit the little bit they skim.

Theoretically, a criminal with a handheld RFID reader can steal credit card information and passport details.

Fortunately, large-scale RFID skimming cases are rare. Still, they can happen. If a group of criminals decides to attack a business, their success will rely on the security protocols of the chips they are targeting. They would also have to be close enough.

Criminal enterprises can target individuals, however. In 2023, a cybercriminal detailed how he stole up to $30,000 in three days by skimming card numbers. 
Also, RFID technology will only improve in the future, which opens it up to more vulnerabilities. As RFID evolves, so will the methods to break it down and exploit it.

How RFID-Blocking Wallets Work

RFID-blocking wallets, typically minimalist wallets, can help protect against RFID skimming. These wallets contain layers of aluminum or carbon fiber, which disrupts radio waves from RFID scanners, preventing them from reaching the chips they are aimed at.

Several types of accessories, including purses and bags, include RFID-blocking technology. But RFID-blocking wallets like the Shuffle Wallet remain the most popular. The Shuffle Wallet protects cards against bending or breaking and can shield up to six cards against RFID skimming.

Effectiveness of RFID-Blocking Wallets

So, does RFID-blocking technology work in wallets? Studies by the National Institute of Standards and Technology show that wallets can shield cards from RFID signals.

This is despite cybersecurity experts downplaying the risk of RFID skimming. Data security expert Roger Grimes goes so far as to say, “RFID-related crime isn’t only very unlike, it’s non-existent.”

However, as we can see from the real-life accounts of cybercriminals, RFID skimming does exist and can cause losses to unsuspecting individuals. Every two seconds, a new case of identity theft is reported in America, so it is clear that some form of protection against this type of crime is sorely needed.

That said, it is important to consider RFID-blocking technology’s limitations. The higher the quality of the blocking material, the better the protection, and vice versa. Also, if a wallet is not well-designed, it may affect the effectiveness of the blocking technology. Moreover, powerful RFID scanners can bypass shielding if it is close enough.

Still, RFID-blocking wallets provide better peace of mind than not having any protection at all. 

Shuffle RFID blocking wallet

How to Choose the Best RFID-Blocking Wallet?

If you want to ensure that your cards and information are protected, look for a wallet made with high-quality materials. These include tested conductive fabrics, titanium, carbon fiber, and aluminum.

The wallet you choose should fully encase your cards without leaving gaps. Look for certifications that verify blocking effectiveness.

In addition to overall blocking material, you could also look for a wallet that offers individual RFID-blocking sleeves.

However, an RFID-blocking wallet should form only one part of your security measures. It would be best if you got into the habit of using strong passwords in case a criminal gets hold of your card information. A password manager can help you with this.

If your bank does not send transaction notifications, always check your accounts for suspicious activity. Never use public Wi-Fi to transact, and stay wary of unfamiliar links and attachments in email and text messages.

Strengthen your home network using a VPN and update your software as soon as an update is available.


RFID-blocking wallets protect against digital theft attempts, even if the threat is low. If you are concerned about your digital privacy, an RFID-blocking wallet will put your mind at ease, especially while traveling in unfamiliar places. 

Investing in an RFID-blocking wallet is the easiest way to add an extra security measure to your digital lifestyle. 

Have you found that RFID-blocking wallets make you worry less while traveling or shopping? Share your experiences, opinions, and concerns about RFID protection below. 

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