People write and talk about pickpockets, and others using skimming devices to capture debit/credit card info, especially in Italy. How important is it to have an RFID wallet when travelling in Italy, especially if all your cards have the relatively new CHIP feature?


  • We protect each of our credit cards and our passports with RFID sleeves. It's an inexpensive way to add another layer of security.
  • edited October 2018
    Sorry (or happy) to tell you but "special" (shielded) RFID (Radio Frequency ID) wallets and such are little more than a scam and certainly not worth any extra cost. What?!?!? you say!!!!

    Most credit and bank cards including those with a strip AND/OR chip do not work on the RF (radio frequency) principle- the strips and chips are passive and are only read by contact or when within fractions of an inch of the reader- they are NOT susceptible to RF interrogation and do not send out an RF signal with your data!!!!

    The only cards and devices that are susceptible and "might" need protection, are fast pass, fast pay, cards and devices that you just wave over an "interrogator/detector- like at some gas pumps or convenience stores- most of those won't work in Europe anyway. Included in this group are the new chip enhanced US passports. What?!?!?!?! Isn't that serious?!!! Nope!

    Lets talk about passports first. The newer chip enhanced passports have a built in RF shield so can only be interrogated and respond when open.

    Further, the real problem for the thief is what must be done to collect and exploit the data on an RF card or passport. The thief MUST be close, within 1' - 2' or less, must have a special receiver and a recording device (think laptop), and (this is a biggie) can only collect info when the card/passport is being interrogated by and responding to the intended device- that only occurs in a few fractions of a second. Then, the thief must take home the data which is encrypted and use special computer programs to separate out the interrogation from the response and decrypt it- all of which is no easy feat. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely that a thief will be right on your hip when you scan your passport or RF card, and has the knowledge and the expensive and sophisticated equipment at home to exploit your data- extremely unlikely- save that for spy movies.

    Even if he does, once the thief has your data he just can't use it on Amazon or to buy a Rolls, it doesn't work that way. To exploit your data for financial gain, after doing everything in the previous paragraph, he must use your data to open a new credit or credit card account in your name, without you knowing, and buy things which he then sells, all of which is possible, but . . . . again, not likely.

    What is more likely, he will just pickpocket your wallet and steal your cash. He may attempt to use (very difficult) or sell your card to another person, but more than likely will just pitch the wallet and credit cards in the trash!
  • Thanks for all of that Alan. Saved me the cost of an RFID wallet. What happens to me is that both the strip and the chip stop working. I think I wear them out. Or today Citi cancelled my card because a merchant I had used got hacked and they got all the merchant’s credit card data. And I had just memorized that card number.

Leave a Comment

BoldItalicStrikethroughOrdered listUnordered list
Align leftAlign centerAlign rightToggle HTML viewToggle full pageToggle lights
Drop image/file