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RFID Blocking - Essential or Worthless?

Still deciding whether to use a money belt or not (we're leaving in five days), but aside from that internal debate, there's the RFID issue. My sense is that it is unnecessary since even if people are scanning wallets and purses (which I doubt), just having account numbers isn't going to help them much, is it? Anyway, the money belts I've seen with RFID blocking are scratchy and make a crackly noise, rendering them somewhat pointless, since they are supposed to be discreet. Is RFID blocking more important than I suspect, or can I reasonably take it off my list of things to worry about?

Posted by
9309 posts

If concerned about RFID skimming just wrap a piece of aluminum foil around your card(s) and keep them in a regular, not scratchy, money belt.

Posted by
2148 posts

Just my opinion but I think they are unnecessarily heavy, as are all the purses and over the shoulder bags that are labeled RFID. Especially when those bags have straps with cables running thru them. I like the foil idea😊.

Posted by
3493 posts

First, you have to determine how many of your cards actually have RFID. They are still rare in the US but are expanding.

A card with a chip in it is not automatically RFID enabled. They are different kinds of chips. A card can be one or the other or both. The RFID cards will have what looks like a WiFi emblem on them and can be used just like Apple pay to tap the terminal to complete the transaction. The other chip cards require the chip to be physically inserted into the terminal and cannot be read any other way.

Even if you do have the RFID cards, you have to be very close to the card to read it. Also, if you have multiple RFID cards in your wallet together, they can clash with each other resulting in mangled card numbers that are unreadable by remote devices.

So, no need for anything more than foil if you are worried.

Posted by
54 posts

Well, thank you all! I feel emboldened to ignore the remote dangers of RFID skimming and I think I will throw caution to the wind and remain foil-free as well.

Posted by
1516 posts

And US passports have skimming protection built into the cover so that they can only be electronically read when open.

Posted by
6116 posts

Complete 100% bogus nonsense, just a scam to take advantage of naive people. Play on.

Posted by
22270 posts

Worthless -- just marketing hype to sell the product. BUT a lot of people buy into so it continues.

Posted by
3789 posts

I think the only thing I have protected is my NEXUS card....because it came in its own sleeve. Otherwise I woildn't bother.

Posted by
2349 posts

Well, good luck throwing caution to the wind. The RFID promoters have been successful in marketing and it's getting harder to find money belts without it. Just like Brute Force Cybernetics, they created a need and then filled it. I avoid purchasing anything labeled RFID.

Posted by
54 posts

Good to know about US passports being extra secure. But as Karen has pointed out, it is not that easy anymore to find non-RFID blocking money belts, wallets, purses, etc. Well, if I can't find a money belt that I will actually use, I'll just do without. Anyway, these days more of the things that would have gone in the belt are now in your phone.

Posted by
3493 posts

Rick Steves' online store has 2 money belts and a neck pocket without the RFID stuff. I use the silk money belt (more comfortable, faster drying if it gets wet, lasts longer than the polyester one for me anyway).

Posted by
13530 posts

I don't use it but it sells for ten dollars, the one for credit cards.

Posted by
4913 posts

The RFID scam is not so much about obtaining your card details but using the contactless payment element to authorise debits from your account. A thief only has to be in possession of an app or machine to steal up to £30 in the UK (the limit for contactless payment) just by being close to your card. However it is not believed to be a widespread scam and thd fear is greater than the actual threat.

Posted by
31676 posts

Helen,

As this video shows, it is technically possible to scan RFID cards surreptitiously - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZp24Twkykw . However I don't believe this is done very often (if at all) so the risk is probably minimal. Using credit card sleeves such as those shown in the video should be adequate, so not necessary to buy an expensive RFID bag or whatever.

Regarding Money Belts, there are models on the market that don't have RFID shielding and are comfortable to wear.....

One point to mention is that if you'll be storing Passports or other important documents in the money belt, it's a good idea to place them in Zip-Lok bags to prevent damage from perspiration.