Since the implementation of RFID PayPass credit cards, the credit card companies denied the security hole that thieves were using to gain your credit card information without detection. The issue has been discussed by all of the major news stations, online magazines and finance publications. Those carrying credit cards with embedded RFID chips are vulnerable to theft by use of a portable RFID scanner. By getting close to your wallet or purse, a thief can scan your credit card without it even being out of your pocket.
At the Shmoocon hacker conference, hackers demonstrated how these portable RFID scanners can steal your credit card information in the amount of time it takes for a thief to bump into you and apologize. Though the credit card companies still dispute this security risk, the proof has been shown. There are however, ways to protect your card from these scanning thieves if you choose to keep the convenience of PayPass’ tap and go terminals.
Since the appearance of RFID theft, companies have developed specialized sleeves to secure your credit card from theft. These sleeves include a protected sheath that blocks the signal coming from your card and rendering the RFID scanner useless in the attempt of stealing your credit card information. With many companies offering these special protectors, you have the option of choosing a look that fits you. Whether it is just a sleeve or a wallet with the protective sheath, your credit card information can be protected.
Stack Them All Together:
Since your credit card emits a radio frequency, one of the easiest ways to offer some protection is by stacking your credit cards together in the wallet. Instead of placing them in separate sleeves, place them all in the same sleeve. This offers a little bit more security than not doing anything at all but it is not fool proof. The idea is to confuse the scanner by keeping your different chips close together.
Wrap it up:
If you don’t want to spend the money to get a new wallet, you can easily block the RFID signal by wrapping your credit cards in aluminum foil before placing them in your wallet. This will block the signal coming from your cards as well as the RFID scanner. Aluminums reflective surface will bounce the RFID signal off and give no information for them to use.
Don’t Carry Them:
The only way sure fire way to protect your RFID enabled credit card is to just not carry it with you. If you are not planning on using your card that day, leave it at home and keep your information safe. Even though one of the purposes of having a credit card is for emergency, sometimes it is better to not have it with you. If you are one of those people who use your card more than cash, carry it on you only when you are going to use it throughout the day. Other times you should keep it locked away securely where nobody will get near it with a scanner.
RFID credit cards are a great idea. Creating a faster and more convenient way to pay for items is a concept that many companies and consumers are open to. However, when security is compromised, it is up to all of us to assure our financial information stays out of the wrong hands. If you have an RFID credit card, take the initiative and protect yourself.
Terri Miller is a finance consultant and relies on an accurate comparison of the leading credit cards in order to help her clients find the top credit cards available.