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RFID pockets, are they worth it, do they work?

Hi! I read in some very old posts on this forum that RFID pockets are all hype and actually don't do anything to protect credit cards or passports. I have credit cards that can be "tapped" on the payment screen and have the wi-fi symbol. I have an older passport that was issued 8 1/2 years ago. Should I bother investing in RFID pockets/pouches? I just wondered if the advice has changed in light of current chip technology.


Posted by
4549 posts

RFID shielding just seems to be a common thing these days, if you look for a neck wallet or money belt you'll see that it's already there. I also had a cheapo wallet I use for travelling that wouldn't get through some metal detectors, a guard told me it probably had some shielding. It couldn't hurt and it might help, so what the heck.

Posted by
17 posts

Thanks, phred! You're probably right. It can't hurt. I was just surprised that there's no mention of them in the Rick Steves information and the money belt they sell (or give to you when you sign up for a tour, as in our case), doesn't have the RFID protection. I may go ahead and just buy the sleeves for the cards and passport and use them in his money belt.

Posted by
1841 posts

I have one for my passport. Found it on clearance and it offers a little water protection too. As I understand it the cover of the passport has shielding built in. As long as passport is closed it should not be an issue.

Posted by
1259 posts

RFID shielding is almost useless, more of a marketing scam than a practical defense. The RFID information on travel documents and credit cards is encrypted and it can actually be obtained(difficult) and printed onto a blank card but the user of that card does not have the PIN and other information required to complete transactions. The newer wireless payment systems, such as Apple Pay, are making RFID obsolete. However, there's no harm in buying and using RFID blocking items to carry your items if you will sleep better. Experts point out that prudence, vigilance, and common sense are probably more effective at protecting your cards and other information.

Criminals with a reader need to be very close to scan your card.
The theft is a time consuming hit-or-miss for criminals. Their victim might not even own a contactless card.
The RFID chip only transmits the card number. Additional information needed for online transactions, such as the expiration date or security code, can’t be scanned.
Most RFID cards now use encrypted one-time codes for each purchase.

Posted by
4991 posts

The only thing we can add with certainty is that our original (and renewed) Global Entry Cards came with the RFID pockets along with an admonishment to keep them in the pockets. We've also had them given to us by banks for use with credit / debit cards. Using the pockets doesn't hurt, and might do some good.

Posted by
439 posts

I was coming here to say the same thing, @bogiesan. Most of the articles on Google about RFID blocking technology are (not suprisingly) pre-pandemic, but I did find this Bankrate article from late last year:

"RFID credit cards allow you to pay with a tap, rather than inserting or swiping your card. Special RFID-blocking wallets and sleeves, despite their popularity, generally aren’t necessary for security because the technology requires an obstruction-free environment. In other words, most materials—such as a regular wallet, a purse, or a pocket—will prevent the RFID technology from working, making it tough for a scammer to tap your card without your knowledge."

Posted by
7496 posts

Do you know a single person who knows for sure that Russian Hackers brushed up against them in a bar and stole their retirement money? Come on, this is a phony problem looking for ... not a solution ... another entry to your wallet!

I mean seriously, most car and kitchen burglaries in my rich town are unlocked cars with a purse or GPS on the seat and an unlocked kitchen door. No one is reading your credit cards. Did you know that passing thieves can see that your pride-and-joy BMW/Lamborghini is unlocked because the side mirrors have not been retracted ... ... ...

Posted by
23431 posts

Mostly marketing hype to sell a solution for a nearly non-existing problem. If it is free, use it. But don't spend good money for "the protection."