What Does RFID Blocking Mean?

You might have seen a lot of RFID blocking travel accessories on the market, and wondered what they were all about. Here is the down-low about what RFID blocking means and how to figure out if you really need it.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. It is a small chip and antenna that is embedded in some credit cards. The most common type of card that has RFID is a “tap and go” type card where you only have to wave the card in front of a device–you don’t have to actually swipe the card. According to LowCards.com, the most prevalent cards with RFID are: Visa PayWave, MasterCard PayPass, American Express ExpressPay, and Discover Zip.

What is the security problem with RFID?

Cards with RFID don’t need to be swiped in order to get the account information. This is a target for thieves because they don’t have to get the card in their hands in order to steal the information from it. Consumer Reports shows how someone standing near you with a radio frequency device can get your information without you ever realizing it.


Is it the same as Pin & Chip?

You might see a chip on the front of your credit card and think that you have an RFID card. However, it’s important to note that “pin and chip” is a different technology. The pin and chip cards require the card to be swiped, and then the part with the chip is inserted into the chip reader. This is a dual-control that requires the original card to be present. This is different from RFID. If you have an RFID card, you don’t need to swipe or insert your card for it to be read.

How can I protect myself?

There are many products on the market to protect your RFID cards. There are protective sleeves that are the size of credit cards. Just slip your card into the sleeve and forget about it. You can also get RFID blocking wallets. If you want extra protection–use both!

As always, be aware of your surroundings when you travel. It’s also important to watch your accounts closely so you can catch any usual transactions quickly.

You can find a full range of RFID blocking products at The Travel Accessory Store.



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Filed under: Anti-Theft