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If you knew that someone could read your credit cards, passport, and even driver’s license without actually having to swipe them or look at them, would you take steps to guard against it? I know I would. Unfortunately, RFID (Radio Frequency IDentification) technology used to track sensitive data in many of today’s portable identifiers (e.g. cards) can be easily scanned without you ever knowing.

It’s a scary thought to entertain and if it bothers you, keep reading to find out what you can do about it.

Why Use An RFID-Blocking Wallet?

As it stands right now, most credit cards and debit cards issued within the past decade have RFID technology embedded in them. All US passports issued in 2006 and later have RFID chips that track your data and photo. RFID chips are a convenient way to store and read data – instead of having to swipe your card through a reader, you can simply wave your card in front of an RFID scanner without even taking it out of your wallet. It’s convenience at its best.

Unfortunately, the danger is that someone could build a counterfeit reader – which wouldn’t be too difficult for anyone who has experience in that field – and pick up your RFID information against your will. It’s similar to one of the risks in an NFC device Using NFC? 3 Security Risks To Be Aware Of Using NFC? 3 Security Risks To Be Aware Of NFC, which stands for near-field communication, is the next evolution and is already a core feature in some of the newer smartphone models like the Nexus 4 and Samsung Galaxy S4. But as with all... Read More , which requires a close-up “bump” to trigger a transaction. Counterfeit card readers existed before RFID, but they require you to physically swipe your card through a slot; counterfeit RFID readers can pull or delete data without so much as you walking by.

Angela listed some tips on how to stay safe against hacked RFID chips RFID Can Be Hacked: Here's How, & What You Can Do To Stay Safe RFID Can Be Hacked: Here's How, & What You Can Do To Stay Safe How much do you know about RFID chips? Do you know how many you're carrying at any given moment? Do you know what information is stored on them? Do you know how close a hacker... Read More , and she mentioned RFID-blocking sleeves, pouches, and wallets. A proper RFID blocker will utilize something called a “Faraday cage” and the specification you want to look for is “electromagnetically opaque”. These RFID blockers will prevent illegitimate reading of your RFID-embedded objects.

Not all RFID-blocking wallets are made equal; some are more effective than others. In addition, even the most effective RFID-blocking wallets can fail, whether due to wear and tear or user error. These products will help keep you safe, but they are no replacement for safe habits and exercising caution.

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The Most Affordable

rfid-wallet-altoids

As Guy mentioned in his post on blocking RFID chips Don't Let Them Scan You: Blocking RFID Chips Don't Let Them Scan You: Blocking RFID Chips Every convenience in life comes at a cost. That's why things are so expensive at the corner store compared to the grocery store. They aren't selling you a carton of milk, they're selling you a... Read More , an Altoids can is actually somewhat effective as a Faraday cage. Lifehacker expanded on the idea, claiming that an Altoids can was successful in blocking the scanning of an RFID-embedded security badge. The length of time didn’t matter; it didn’t scan. But once the can was opened, the scan worked from inches away.

rfid-wallet-difrwear

For those looking for an actual wallet, you’ll need to be careful when balancing price and effectiveness. There are lots of cheap wallets that claim to block RFID but don’t. The cheapest one I found that still works is the DIFRwear RFID Blocking Flip Side Wallet in black leather for about $23. At that price, it won’t be the highest quality or the most stylish, but it’ll get you by.

The Most Utilitarian

rfid-wallet-flipside-strata

When it comes to utilitarian design, I don’t think there’s any more utility-based than the Flipside Strata Wallet, which will set you back about $30. The reason I say that is because the entire wallet is built out of high-strength polymer, not the usual leather and nylon that you might expect from a modern wallet. The hard-case design does protect your cards, though, from both RFID scanners and physical damage.

Flipside Wallets Men's 3X RFID Blocking Wallet One Size Stealth Flipside Wallets Men's 3X RFID Blocking Wallet One Size Stealth Constructed from high strength polycarbonate and aircraft grade aluminum alloy Buy Now At Amazon $39.95

rfid-wallet-identitystronghold

Other utilitarian wallets include the Flipside 3X Wallet for $40 (which Jackson reviewed Flipside 2X Wallet Review and Giveaway Flipside 2X Wallet Review and Giveaway Read More in 2011) and the Identity Stronghold Secure Wallet for $35. The former is the larger and higher quality version of the Strata Wallet, while the latter is a simple bi-fold with space for bills and ten cards.

One downside is that these utilitarian wallets can sometimes be a bit too bulky depending on the situation. However, for protection, they are better than average.

The Most Stylish

Now, obviously the definition of “stylish” will differ from person to person. You may like nylon while another finds it horribly outdated, while someone else might prefer crocodile leather which you might think is too loud. With that said, spiffy-looking RFID-blocking wallets can be hard to find in general, so here’s what I could dig up for you.

rfid-wallet-accessdenied

The Bi-Fold Leather Wallet by Access Denied for $42 is one that fits the sleeker side of the stylish spectrum. It’s the only wallet I’ve found that has a pleasant saddle tan color while actually being effective at blocking RFID signals. However, if that isn’t your preferred color, it also comes in black, dark chocolate brown, and brown/tan.

If you want something on the truly minimalistic side of design, the HuMn Wallet Mini and the HuMn Wallet 2 will be right up your alley. They’re customizable, versatile, easy to assemble, and particularly effective at blocking RFID. They’re a bit expensive though, starting at $76 and going over $100 depending on your customization options.

rfid-wallet-kenakai-croc

The $80 DataSafe Bi-Fold Croc Leather Wallet by Kena Kai is a potential choice for those who want to make a statement. A big, loud statement at that. According to their product information, Kena Kai’s DataSafe technology meets the new FIPS-201 security standards and comes with 7 layers of RFID shielding material. The crocodile leather is just icing on the cake.

Bottom Line

RFID-blocking wallets will increase the security of your RFID-embedded cards, but they aren’t foolproof solutions. The best way to stay protected against rogue RFID scanners is to minimize your reliance on RFID-enabled tools; abstinence really is the only guaranteed protection. But if you can’t find a way around it, then you can safeguard your cards with the wallets listed above.

Do you use an RFID-blocking wallet? If so, which one? If not, why not? Share your experiences with us in the comments!

  1. James
    July 27, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    99 cents stores have aluminium "wallets" that have several slots to hold your cards. You can put 2-3 cards in a slot and the "wallet" closes and snaps.
    BEST of all, like everything in the store, it's only $0.99! I got one but the plastic snap broke. I easily fixed it by using a drill and paper clip. Works better than new now!

  2. Neal
    June 19, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Fold aluminum foil into the shape of a dollar bill. Put it into the paper money part of your wallet closest to where cards go. When the wallet is folded it will protect all your cards.

  3. James
    June 1, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Ur a nut

  4. Margo Cerny
    May 25, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Damsel in Defense has a great product called Hard Shelly for 10.00 plus shipping & tax. Contact your Ind. Damsel Pro.I invite you to check out my page. Margo Cerny ind Damsel Pro In IL & IA

  5. Robin
    April 16, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    Altoids can works better than all the wallets and aluminum foils works great also.

  6. tm
    March 25, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    This is out of date in 2016 most credit card company no longer use RFID in cards anymore. They have all switched to the smart card you have to insert into a reader.

    Basically now your being scammed by the RFID wallets because you dont need them you dont have a RFID card.

    Check your card if it has the wave symbol like a kind of like a wifi symbol then call your credit card company and request one that doent have rdid in it.

    • Roger
      June 23, 2016 at 4:29 pm

      Not true. Many credit cards have both RFID and a chip. The "tap" feature for quick. low value transactions uses RFID.

  7. Mary Blacksheep
    March 16, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    I'm a leather maker where can I buy the Chip to imbed into my wallets that I make and how do I know which one is the right one??

    • Terry
      July 1, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      There is not a chip in the wallets. The wallets work by creating a metal "cage" around the card, which prevents the radio signals from being transmitted to and from the card's chip. Simply wrapping the card in aluminum foil (or as mentioned above, putting it in an Altoid's can) insulates the card from radio waves.

  8. Tony
    March 4, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    I'd like an RFID Men's regular size slim wallet with a zipper to keep stuff from falling out. I have to say that the polycarbonate wallet is tempting.

  9. charles
    February 25, 2016 at 12:24 pm
    • James
      June 1, 2016 at 5:04 pm

      Yeah unless you want to use the feature.

  10. Jake
    February 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm

    Aluminum foil wrapped card works as well.

    • charles
      February 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm

      try to get a yowosmart RFID blocking phone case on amazon

    • James
      June 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Going full tin foil hat I see

  11. Cynthia Mueller
    February 12, 2016 at 9:16 am

    This is a question more than a comment. Couldn't you put a credit card into one of those drivers license holders that they give you for enhanced licenses? Those are used to protect your info from scammers trying to get your info off your license.

  12. josh
    February 1, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    The Silent Pocket (http://www.silent-pocket.com) wallets, iPhone covers, sleeves for tablets and laptops, 5 liter dry bag, and briefcase are *really* high quality and have been tested by multiple labs to block exactly what they say they block.

    The leather feels like a baby's bottom and the stitching is top notch. I started with a V2 Simple Credit Card Wallet, and liked it so much that I bought quite a few other products. The new briefcase is as nice as any regular briefcase I've ever seen.

  13. Katrina
    January 27, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    Why isn't there an option for women? These are all styled for men.

    • wut about teh wymyn
      February 18, 2016 at 2:38 pm

      muh sexism

    • bart
      February 25, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      because all women are using wallets of their husbands :P joking ofc

    • Corrie E
      February 27, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      Check out Amazon. Lots of women's RFID blocking wallets.

    • James
      June 1, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Women should be allowed to carry any forms of money.

  14. MJ
    December 2, 2015 at 2:58 am

    Instead of purchasing card sleeves or special wallet, add a SignslVault card to your existing wallet. It blocks the RFID chips from being read.

    • riddell14@yahoo.com
      December 15, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Signal Vault card doesn't work, and creates unnecessary cards in your wallet. Watch the You tube video for a demonstration.

  15. Kelly Smith
    November 13, 2015 at 12:19 am

    I use the Vinco wallet it's quite good.
    I intially got in their first production run and I've ordered some different colours. They're really thin and you'll never notice them in your front pocket. Seen some others on kickstarters and they seem alright too, there's such a variety these days with RFID wallets.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/vinco-wallet-the-worlds-thinnest-rfid-wallet#/

  16. odds87
    August 28, 2015 at 10:16 am

    Noticed a lot of the better RFID blocking wallets tend to be Kickstarted / US based / difficult to get in Europe without paying a fortune for postage. There's a site (www.faradaystore.com) popped up that has paypal/free delivery though for any other euro folk.

  17. Vicki Cushing
    June 7, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    Didn't know about these-I've just been using tinfoil but not sure if this is effective (?). will be buying one of the above-thanks!

  18. David Tucker
    May 29, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    I use a bi-fold wallet that's large enough to hold my passport and 4 credit cards while still being able to comfortably fit inside the inner-pocket of my sport coat. I still use the same money clip for folding currency that I've been carrying for 40 years. Following the introduction of RFID technology into currency, this is going to change. I'm looking for a discreet way of shielding my currency without the necessity of putting it inside my wallet.

  19. Courtland Orvis
    May 28, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    I use lead sheeting in my wallet. I have had a few problems going through x-ray in airports but if I position it right in the tray the x-ray doesn't see it. If it does I explain what I have to the person in charge what I have. I got it at a hardware store but I can't remember what it is used for. The sheet can be cut the size of the credit card one on each side.

  20. Cassy
    April 26, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    OK, so I get one of the RFID blocking wallets. I get to security at the airport and it is in my purse? I put it out in the tray so they don't have to empty my bag? I definitely do not carry it on my person!

    It must be pretty common by now but I am leaving on a trip to Europe and don't want to spend extra time in security!

    Can anyone give me more information?

    Thanks!

  21. Marc
    March 29, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    I do the same - metal business card holder. Been using one for years. It's just right to hold a credit card, debit card, driving licence and 2 folded notes.

  22. harrell caines jr
    March 4, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    I've used a metal business card holder for ten years to hold my cards and license. I wonder if it would prevent this from happening.

  23. gucci
    February 27, 2015 at 3:39 am

    THE FLISIDE STRATA WALLET IS ACTUALLY $40 BUT I'M STILL GONNA BUY IT

  24. Jane Smith
    February 14, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Any sources for RFID wallets for women?

  25. John Williams
    January 8, 2015 at 3:13 am

    Plenty of very fine copper mesh on ebay - about £3 for an A5 size piece. You can make a Faraday cage lining on any container, wallet, bag, hat or clothing. Just like flexible headphone and USB leads the metal mesh is so fine it bends like cloth. Much better than aluminium foil. Pure copper does go green though, so you should also consider brass or stainless steel meshes.
    RFID is passive and hard to test. Try putting your phone - which has fully powered radios - inside your Faraday bag and try calling it, WiFi - ing it or Blutoothing it.
    If thhe mesh will stop a powered transmitter signal. RFID has no chance. Also, don't be too paranoid. RFID skimmers need to be quite up close and personal to work.
    Before RFID "chips" there was plain old RFI - Radio Frequency Interference. I've been using fine copper mesh for over 30 years to line electric guitar pickup cavities and HiFi record player pre-amps.
    Be prepared to explain yourself at security though - all this metal will set off the x-ray scanners and metal detectors - you may be asked to "step this way, sir", by a guy snapping on some rubber glubs ....

    • Jona Marie
      July 30, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      Excellent suggestion - and based on scientific facts, not advertising!

  26. Pierluigi
    January 6, 2015 at 10:00 pm

    Hi, I use 15 Mile Hose, 100% handmade with a very good RFID protection, vegetable tanned leather, nice work.

  27. Alan
    January 1, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I use the Sharkk RFID Aluminum Wallet. It is made of aluminum and is very stylish. It has 7 accordion style card slots. I have a friend at an unnamed store who tested my wallet with an RFID scanner. The scanner was unable to pick up the few debit and credit cards I had in my wallet. He was impressed and I was relieved.

  28. Sam
    December 25, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Merry Christmas.
    I just got a Columbia™ Slimfold Security Wallet
    How does Iit rate as a security wallet?

    • Reese
      January 26, 2015 at 2:45 am

      I also just bought a Columbia Security Wallet with built in RFID shield. But cannot find any info on it or how reliable it is. Have you had any feedback on it? I looked at the same exact wallet without the RFID shield and they look identical. I have Google the wallet by style # and bar code but cannot find the information on it. I would just like to know that it's going to do what it is supposed to.

  29. Faizan
    December 20, 2014 at 9:20 am

    Hi,
    I make leather wallets in Kolkata, India & sell to Europe & the US. Can you please advise what material can be lined in my wallets to make it RFID scan proof. So that I can sell my customers RFID blocking Wallets? Thanks in advance.

    • S.
      December 27, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      Faizan: some RF shielding fabric such as the ones sold here:
      http://www.lessemf.com/fabric.html

      PS: I have no connection to this company and haven't ordered from them either nor do I know which fabric would be best for lining wallets, unfortunately but I'm sure if you google it you'd find more info.

      • Jona Marie
        July 30, 2016 at 9:46 pm

        I don't think you should trust a company who uses an image of a 1984 Macintosh in their example of EMF shielding! And I'd wonder if the copper mesh is copper (the only product from them worth trusting).
        The morons there don't even know that the original Macintosh case was shielded, as were the cords. They talk about emissions from a circuit breaker box, but if a box was emitting that strong a field, you better have your fire insurance up to date.

  30. Diane R
    December 12, 2014 at 9:56 am

    I hope this does not sound too stupid--- protecting your cards, passport, etc. within one's wallet sounds important; but when it needs to be used & you take it out of the wallet, could someone "zap" you at that time ?

    • Nathan
      March 8, 2015 at 7:30 pm

      Diane, good question. As I understand it, yes, you're technically quite right, but with RFID wallets being few and far between, they'd just pick their own time and place in order to get someone else's data instead of dramatically increasing their risk of being caught by getting yours at the time and place of purchase.

  31. joe hall
    March 4, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Obstructures A3 wallet is a great option- super minimal, opens easier than the HUMN and is considerably less expensive.

  32. Nancy Partin
    January 28, 2014 at 1:27 am

    Hi! I'm looking for a non-leather RFID wallet that will hold both my passport and my credit cards. I'm cross-eyed from reading all of the specs and reviews and nobody seems truly satisfied with anything. I know you can't please all of the people all of the time, but can you recommend a moderately priced wallet? I have no way to test whether or not something really will block RFID and, thankfully, some of the reviews noted when wallets did not work. But, you seem very knowledgeable so I am hoping you can help me. Thank you!

  33. kendra kroll
    December 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I heard there's a RFID blocking solution called the Blackout Pocket from Scottevest that will protect credit cards and passports, and can keep your cell phone "off the grid" too. Coming soon to scottevest.com

  34. Anonymous
    November 20, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Flipside Sidekick 3x. I highly recommend it. It's secure, built well, compact, and has an option to add an additional attachment for more cards.

  35. Nick
    October 8, 2013 at 12:37 am

    I actually wouldn't mind modding a Altoids can to a wallet form of sometime or just a basic card holder. I mean it is cheap and works effective besides it is kinda stylish in some ways.

    • Jona Marie
      July 30, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      EXCELLENT reduce, reuse, recycle approach, Nick.
      And I have my Altoids tin right here to think on how I'd like to modify.
      If nothing else, you'd want to give it several coats of clear sealant so the "vintage" style paint job doesn't get scratched off in your pocket, near keys, etc.

  36. Benjamin Strand
    September 30, 2013 at 7:36 am

    My wallet has a zippered pocket that spans the entire length of the wallet when unfolded. I took some tin foil and folded it 3 or 4 times so it was the same width as my wallet and placed the tin foil in the zippered pouch towards the outside wall of my wallet. Now when I close my wallet, it is completely secured because of the thick tinfoil surrounding it does not let anything pass. The wallet cost me about 40 bucks and the DIY Faraday cage was about 2 cents from my kitchen supplies.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 3:19 pm

      My issues with DIY aluminum are: 1) it can come loose and 2) it crackles and makes undesirable noises. If it works for you, though, that's awesome. Definitely a frugal alternative. :)

      • Jona Marie
        July 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm

        Can we use the Mylar-type foil bags? I can't seem to find anything on line to dispute or confirm they block RFID.

  37. Glenn Herrick
    September 27, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    Mike Merritt's RFID blocking envelopes: That sounds like a grand idea, except that it's in Canada and I'm in Europe [Italy]. Anyone out there know an international source [probably made in China anyhow]? Thanks.

  38. dragonmouth
    September 26, 2013 at 11:13 pm

    For the past couple of years I've been using Aluma-Wallet as my wallet. You may have seen it advertised on TV. It looks like a small cigarette case. I don't know for sure if it is RFID-proof but being all metal it is better than leather. I picked one up at a flea market for $5.

  39. Ed
    September 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    Would lining the inside of your wallet with aluminum foil work?

    • Guy M
      September 27, 2013 at 10:21 pm

      Yes, it does. Bit of a pain in the backside though.

    • Guy M
      September 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm

      Pelican now makes a hardcase wallet for about $25. Plus it's got the legendary waterproof and breakproof guarantee that Pelican is famous for. If having a hard case works to block or impede chip scanning, this is a good way to go.

      The silver trays from microwaveable dinners can be cut and put in your wallet as well. Those will act similar to tinfoil but be a little more durable.

    • Benjamin Strand
      September 30, 2013 at 7:38 am

      @ED, Yes it will. See my comment.

    • Val
      December 25, 2013 at 8:23 am

      Well, you don't need to go that far, these RFID cards work on extremely low frequencies, even a strip of aluminum foil touching it will reduce the range someone can scan your card to millimeters... Going off of that, if a wallet is simply lined by a metal lining it should be good enough to defeat an RFID scanner until it gets to a ridiculously close range.

  40. jameydee
    September 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    The Obstructure wallet is almost identical to the HumNT at half the price. I'm quite fond of mine.

  41. Mike Merritt
    September 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    In Ontario, Canada, the "Ontario Motor League" / CAA (in their retail stores) sell RFID blocking envelopes for a few dollars that you can slip your credit card into - then put it back in your regular wallet. The cardboard like envelope is just the size to slip a credit card into - and is like a sleeve to slip the CC out, use it, and return it to the sleeve in your wallet. Easy - Cheap - Fashionable.

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Sleeves are a good alternative and arguably more secure, though they are slightly less inconvenient depending on the design of your wallet. If it works for you, great! :)

    • Melle
      October 5, 2013 at 4:01 am

      Our bank gives them out for free.

    • Gary
      February 11, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Mike Merritt.

  42. Guillermo A
    September 26, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Anyone tested aluma wallet?

    • kwebster
      April 17, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      There is a guy on another site who has tested wallets on his scanner at work. He doesn't recommend Buxton, but he does recommend Aluma wallet. It is what he uses and he has tested it. Hope that helps.

  43. Kevin
    September 26, 2013 at 5:41 pm

    Can you outline the method used to determine which wallets "worked" as advertised?

    • Joel L
      September 30, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      I went with general user review consensus. If there were no reviews or if the reviews seems suspicious, I did not include the product in this article.

  44. Joe Guy
    September 26, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    I've been using the SilentPocket Bi-Fold Wallet. They also have RFID blocking cell phone cases that I've started using since my phone stores all my credit cards, and with an NFC chip, I use it the same way I use an RFID credit card.

  45. serhat sine
    September 26, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I'm using : SecrID

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