Last Updated: November 4, 2022

RFID Blocking Fabric: Everything You Need To Know

Want to know more about RFID-blocking fabric? Then you are definitely in the right place because this detailed guide to RFID-blocking fabric has all the information you need to know!

How it works, if it’s safe, and whether it’s really necessary are all explained in this detailed guide. Keep reading to learn more about RFID blocking and see whether you really need to invest in an RFID-blocking wallet!

What Is RFID Blocking Fabric?

RFID Safe Fabric

RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) blocking fabric is a type of fabric that is capable of blocking electromagnetic signals. The primary material used in RFID-blocking fabric is metal because of its natural ability to interfere with electromagnetic fields.

But how does it work? When someone activates an RFID reader, they can scan the microchip on your cards to extract certain information. With RFID-blocking fabric, the metals create a sort of faraday cage that interferes with the signal. The fabric doesn’t allow the information to pass through the cage, which is how it manages to keep your belongings perfectly safe.

It’s worth noting that skimmers can’t get all the information from a credit/debit card. They can pick up the card number and sometimes the CVV, but an RFID scanner can’t pick up the information about the expiry date or name of the cardholder, both of which are necessary to make online purchases.

Is RFID Blocking Necessary?

RFID Safe Wallet

It is not necessary, just like locking your suitcase when traveling is not necessary. But if you want to be certain that your belongings will be safe, protecting your personal information with RFID-blocking fabric is the safe thing to do.

If you think you’re at risk of being scammed or if you’re traveling to an area known for high crime rates, it’s smart to go the extra step and protect your cards with RFID-blocking fabric. In any case, it’s better to have an RFID-safe wallet and not be a target of a scam, than to be a target but not have the wallet.

One thing that many people don’t realize is just how close the scammer needs to be to you in order to steal your personal information. Sure, they can do it wirelessly, but they have to get really close to you. Scammers will usually try to nonchalantly put their bag with a scammer inside close to their personal belongings, so if you ever feel like someone is getting a bit too close for comfort, just walk away.

Being aware of your surroundings and keeping an eye out for any suspicious behavior can sometimes be just as efficient as an RFID-blocking wallet. And if the scammers somehow manage to get the best of you, the wallet will work overtime to protect your information.

Another thing to keep in mind is that RFID scanners only work on cards with microchips, so cards that have contactless payment. If you don’t have cards capable of contactless transactions, you don’t have to worry about scammers getting your personal information.

Is It Safe?

Yes, it’s safe. If you’re wondering whether the faraday cage created by the RFID-blocking fabric can negatively affect your physical health, the answer is no. It does not impact the human body in any way and it will have zero negative effects on your health.

RFID blocking fabric is also perfectly safe for your cards. It will not damage to chip or the antennae in the cards in any way, and you will be able to use your cards as usual when you take them out of the RFID-blocking wallet.

How Far Can RFID Be Tracked?

RFID Signal

That depends on the type of RFID signal. There are multiple different versions of RFID signals with different frequencies, and all of that plays a role in determining the read range of an RFID signal.

The best example of this is electronic toll collection on highways. This system also uses RFID signals and it has a pretty big read range since it’s capable of reading the sticker or device from afar, while the vehicle is still in motion. To put things in perspective, when you pay for a toll with a card, you have to place it extremely close to the reader, otherwise, it won’t work.

The read range of an RFID signal depends on several things, the most important of which is the antennae size. The antennae in cards are not very big, so the signal can’t be read from afar.

When it comes to RFID skimmers used to steal data from cards, they have to be extremely close to picking up anything. The scammer would have to hold the RFID skimmer inches away from your card to be able to read it – they would have to get so close that you would definitely notice them.

One thing to note is that thieves don’t just walk around with RFID skimmers in hand. They will place them in a bag and then try to get that bag close to where they think your wallet might be. That’s why you can usually protect yourself from these thieves if you stay aware of your surroundings – if someone is invading your personal space in that way, they’re likely up to no good.

Consider a travel neck wallet with RFID-blocking fabric, if you want your belongings to be extra safe in crowded places.

Materials That Can (Not) Be Used

Aluminum Foil

Some sort of metal is necessary to create an effective RFID shield. Not all metals can work, and the most commonly used types of metal are nickel, copper, and aluminum.

RFID-blocking fabric is usually made with a mixture of metals and polyester. The vast majority of RFID-blocking fabric that can be bought online is made from 50% polyester, 23% copper, and 27% nickel. This is usually a very thin fabric that is traditionally used as a lining for RFID-safe wallets.

The RFID-safe lining can then be used in combination with any other material. This also explains how an anti-theft backpack can have a single pocket that is RFID-safe – it’s only that pocket that is lined with RFID-blocking fabric. Keep this in mind when loading your RFID-safe wallet and be sure to check if the entire wallet is protected with RFID-blocking fabric, or if it’s just a couple of the slots.

The lining can be used in combination with leather, polyester, nylon, and virtually any other fabric. Also, it’s worth noting that you can purchase RFID-safe fabric online, in case you’re considering making your own RFID-blocking wallet or purse.

Additionally, many people wonder if aluminum foil can be used to block RFID signals. It absolutely can, and it’s a quick and cheap solution if you don’t want to buy an RFID-safe wallet or purse, but you would still like to protect your cards. You can wrap individual cards with aluminum foil or you could wrap your entire wallet – either way, the foil should keep the cards safe from RFID skimmers.

The key thing is to keep the cards separated, either with foil or in different slots in your wallet. If you stack two credit/debit cards and their magnetic stripes are pressed together, you could accidentally demagnetize the card.

Is RFID Skimming A Serious Threat?

In all honesty, it’s not. Yes, there is a real possibility that you could be the target of a thief with an RFID skimmer, but there’s also the possibility you could win the lottery and you’re not hedging any bets on that.

Thieves with RFID skimmers exist, but they’re nowhere near as common as some people would have you believe. Pickpockets pose a much bigger threat than thieves with RFID skimmers, and most people don’t bat an eye to that threat.

Another thing to note is that RFID skimming equipment is not cheap by any means. It is not widely accessible to common thieves, and most people who are in the business of scamming tourists are performing more old-fashioned scams. Also, most modern contactless cards are encrypted, so even if they get scanned, the readers can’t really pick up any information.

You are most at risk of being targeted by RFID skimmers in extremely crowded places such as public transport, busy streets, elevators, etc.

In Conclusion…

To sum up, RFID skimming is an actual threat, but it is nowhere near as common as pickpocketing and other scams. The chances of you getting pickpocketed are much higher than your cards being scanned with RFID skimmers. And even if you are targeted and your cards get scanned, the chances of thieves getting any information they can use are minimal because most contactless cards are encrypted.

If you want to be 100% certain that your personal belongings are protected from this threat, you can just get yourself an RFID-safe wallet. This is a normal wallet that is lined with RFID-blocking fabric, which is usually made from a mixture of polyester, copper, and nickel. These fabrics normally have a shielding efficiency of 99.9%, so they practically guarantee the safety of your belongings.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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