RFID Blocking Passport Wallet

How RFID Works? What Is RFID Technology?

RFID is technology of the future. It could be great for big businesses or to simplify personal daily transactions. But what exactly is RFID technology? Are there situations where we want to block RFID radio frequency waves from being transmitted? Let's take a look into what RFID actually is and how can it be helpful and hurtful for Travel Backpackers. 

What Does RFID Stand For?

RFID, or Radio-Frequency Identification, is a technology that utilizes electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. These tags contain electronically stored information. RFID tags do not need to be visible to be read, unlike barcodes. This makes them exceptionally convenient for various applications. 

Have you ever made a contactless payment before? Like going to a cash register and simply hovering your wallet over a scanner to make a payment. THIS IS RFID.

What Are The Advantages of RFID For Travellers?When Is RFID Used In Travel?

Efficient Baggage Handling:

RFID tags attached to luggage let airlines and airports track and identify bags accurately throughout their journey. *Apple Tags use Bluetooth for location tracking but they use RFID for identification purposes.


Streamlined Check-in Processes:

RFID technology facilitates faster and more convenient check-in procedures at airports and even hotels. Ever noticed how fast your passport information gets pulled up by a simple scan?


Enhanced Security:

RFID-enabled passports and IDs contain embedded chips that store biometric and personal data. These documents offer improved security features, making them harder to physically counterfeit or tamper.

    A white RFID blocking sleeve to prevent theft holds a card resting on money

    How RFID Works? How RFID Tags Work?

    RFID systems consist of three main components:

    1. RFID tags (built into your credit card, debit card, or ID card),
    2. RFID readers
    3. a backend database.

    The RFID tag contains a microchip and an antenna. When the tag comes into the electromagnetic field of the RFID reader, the antenna receives the signal from the reader, powering the microchip. The microchip then transmits data stored on it back to the reader via the antenna. The reader captures this data and sends it to a backend system for processing.

    The biggest concern for Travel Backpackers regarding RFID is privacy &  security (aka Cyber Theft).

    The widespread adoption of RFID technology raises privacy and security concerns among all travelers. RFID-enabled documents and credit cards can be remotely scanned by unauthorized individuals, potentially exposing personal information to cyber theft or surveillance.

    What is tough is that you wouldn't know if somebody remotely scanned your money or ID cards until its too late. Personally, this hasn't happened to me *knock on wood*. However, when I was in Spain I met a Backpack Traveller who carried 2 credit cards around. One that he used all the time without foreign transaction fees and a second "just in case". He found out this his credit card information was stolen from the "just in case" credit card he didn't use (the one that has foreign transaction fees). He believes that somebody was able to tap into his cards via a portable RFID reader. He easily knew it wasn't him because he didn't use that car (because of the fees). 

    Fortunately, there is something the individual can do about this! That is to invest in a RFID Blocking Wallet (RFID Card Holder) or RFID Passport Holder.

     

    (Metals block RFID)

    How Do RFID Blocking Wallets Work?

    These wallets typically contain layers of metallic or conductive materials, such as aluminum, copper, or nickel-coated fabric, which create a shield around the cards, effectively blocking radio-frequency signals. These metallic materials form a "Faraday cage", a structure that blocks external electromagnetic fields from penetrating and reaching the RFID-enabled cards inside. This prevents unauthorized scanning and protects sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and personal identification details, from potential theft or unauthorized access.

    Just because metals block RFID, doesn't mean you need a bulky wallet like the wallets above. (Travel Backpackers don't want heavy and bulky!). As long as RFID-blocking FABRICS made with metals are just as good.

    Why Get A RFID Blocking Wallet? How RFID Wallet Works? 

    There are many reasons why to get a RFID Blocking Wallet or any RFID Blocking item. Even though wallets and other ID holders are the most common. Some companies are even starting to launch RFID blocking clothing and bags.

    • Protects Personal Information: RFID-blocking wallets safeguard sensitive data stored on credit cards, passports, and IDs from unauthorized scanning and potential identity theft.
    • Cost-Effective Security: Investing in an RFID-blocking wallet is a relatively inexpensive way to enhance personal security and mitigate the risk of financial loss due to identity theft.
    • Travel Convenience: For Travel Backpackers, RFID-blocking wallets offer added convenience and security, ensuring that important travel documents remain safe during transit.
    • Fashionable and Functional: Many RFID-blocking wallets are stylish and offer the same functionality as traditional wallets while providing that additional layer of security.

    Are RFID Wallets Necessary? Are RFID Wallets Worth It? Are RFID Blocking Wallets Worth It?

    RFID-blocking wallets are worth it for those seeking peace of mind and enhanced protection of their personal information. The added security these wallets provide can prevent robbery and identity theft. They are good for putting a little bit more power in the hand of the individual. Why should a company or an individual scan your cards without your permission. It only takes a few seconds to take the physical card out of the RFID Blocking wallet. Since RFID Blocking Wallets don't have to look any different than a normal wallet, the big question is why not.

    Americans - have you ever noticed that TSA Precheck and Global Entry cards get delivered to you in a little metal sleeve? Those is RFID-blocking cases! You have to question, if the government is sending these vital ID cards in these little metal cases, then shouldn't we?

    (Siracusa, Italy - because we want travel pics, not more tech pics)

    Let's Recap RFID

    Personally, do I think we need RFID Blocking technology built into our clothes and bags? No. However, our most precious items like our money cards and ID cards should be protected. Especially since there are such simple ways to protect these valuables without sacrificing style or convenience. When it comes to wallets, you're going to need a wallet anyway. Might as well invest with one that is built with metal or metal weaved fabric to protect yourself. 

     

    WRITTEN BY

    MARK CIPOLLINA

    I’m Mark, the Founder of Generation Nomad, Avid Travel Backpacker & Digital Nomad. I am passionate about helping others discover the world through my experiences. I solo backpacked for months at a time, lived abroad, and even speak two foreign languages. Besides collaborating on the best lightweight travel accessories for Travel Backpackers, I also love sharing my travel photography.
    Favorite Trips: Spain, Egypt & Vietnam 
    Favorite Cuisines: Italian, Peruvian & Japanese
    Quote: “Be a circle and just roll with it” 
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