If you have been looking for new accessories and especially wallets or card holders you might have seen a label written “RFID” on the hangtag. Or the sales person might have told you “you need to get an RFID” protection- this is the only way to protect your data.

Before spending money on such article, read this post and do some research yourself. Bag Affair does not use any RFID protection in our accessories and we want to explain to you why.

What is RFID?

RFID stands for “radio frequency identification”.  With electromagnetic fields items can send signals and be tracked with this system. RFIS is a very efficient method which is used to track pieces in the production process of cars but which sometimes is used via chips in animals to track large livestock groups.

There are passive tags answering to the reader and active tags sending signals directly. In all what is mentioned in the further text the tags are passive and cannot send any signals themselves. It is easier to use and read as a barcode and signal goes further.

In fashion it is used in labels to protect against theft. You might have seen already these tags which are hard in feeling or stickers which have a silvery backside. Both is written to take or cut off before washing and using. These tags are passive tags which will make the alarm go on if you walk out a store without payment.

Further than protection against theft it also tracks inventory numbers to update stock and automate stock levels.

RFID in passport, payment methods etc.

The RFID is criticized as it “tracks every one of us”. Please let us get this clear.

Yes, most passports have an RFID chip inside which helps to store data about the holders, exists and entries to a country, etc. This is the so called “biometric” passports.

The industry makes thousands of dollars each day with these products, they do everything to raise your fear and to promote their products. You can find false videos, statements and more online. You can even find “tips and tricks” which for example show that putting RFID tags in the microwave deactivates them. Please check always for serious sources and do not stop reading on Wikipedia and the first pages showing up.

Risks for health

Again a myth made up to make you afraid. Your credit cards, tags in clothes, passport and further are passive tags. None of them is sending anything, any wave etc. We absolutely agree that the permanent exposure to radio waves is not great, but here are none and following no risk!

RFID Blocking and Protection in accessories

Back to the initial questions: Do you need an RFID protection in your wallet, what does this do and how does it work?

The risk to allow your credit card or passport to be maliciously scanned is under 1%. Just remember as you pay with your credit card is you pay “without” contact. Often you need to put your card on the scanner to allow that payment goes through. You would need to carry your card out of the wallet and someone needs to get close to you up to some few centimetres to scan the card. Not very realistic, right? Further over a decade never any crime occurred, stealing RFID data from distance- this should make us think.

Further the cards evolved and all data is encrypted – just data skimming is not enough to steel sufficient information being able to make transactions!

The same is valid for passports: “… the information that’s transmitted cannot be read without the key. Everything is encrypted and can be read only by authorized and authenticated readers. You also have to open the passport to the photo page to scan the chip, and most modern passports (issued after 2007) already have covers that block RFID signals.”

Making money with fear

So why there are shocking videos you will ask, and even more important, why brands are advertising RFID protection? This is marketing.

The security issues and assuring that people have fear is always a great method to sell. The idea is to sell more or the same products more expensive.

RFID protection wallets

Some of the protecting wallets are simply fully made of aluminium, being card case wallets.

Some others use specials foils or stickers between the material layers. They are made of metal as well as slim straps in the material for example. What they are exactly made of no manufacturer shows. Cryptalloy from Germany for example says on their homepage “Special metal alloy (no ordinary PET/aluminium/PE composite; no metal coated fabric)”. Funny we think to write that it is a metal alloy and further not ordinary PET. PET never has been metal and would not have any effect- already here you can see how unserious this business is.

Our conclusion if RFID protection wallets are necessary? – Probably not looking at statistics and possibilities. Further we do not want to raise prices or advertise articles you do not need. This for Bag Affair does not offer this label. We offer you best products which are sustainable and fashionable and we offer you full transparency and communication!

If you are really concerned about RFID protection and you want to feel safe- very thin aluminium foil works better than most RFID certified products. You put a layer in the other pockets of your wallet and you are more than safe!