With the advent of RFID (radio frequency identification) chips in credit cards, there has been a lot of chatter online, on TV and in social media about protecting your credit cards from detection by RFID-equipped devices.
Some people are wrapping their credit cards individually in aluminum foil. Others are purchasing RFID-thwarting wallets, purses, travel bags or credit card sleeves. The percentage of credit cards equipped with RFID chips in the United States is very small – about 5 percent of all credit cards issued. If your credit card is embossed with a Wi-Fi symbol, then it is RFID equipped.
So, do YOU need to do this?
How it Works and Embedded Safeguards
These cards emit a code that is picked up by a reader when you make a purchase. However, the cards constantly change the code so even if the code is stolen by someone with criminal intent nearby, they get one code for one purchase. But what the thief doesn’t get with your RFID info is the 3-digit CVV code on the back of your card so any purchases requiring that will be stopped. Also, if you have multiple RFID-equipped cards in your wallet or purse, the codes received by the thief are likely all jumbled, preventing any illicit activity.
Please note that your EMV (Europay, Mastercard, Visa) chipped card, with the visible chip on the card is not same as an RFID-enabled card. There are millions of EMV cards now in use in the US but, as stated above, only about 5 percent of all cards are equipped with RFID capability.
Whether you should get an RFID-blocking wallet or credit card sleeve is up to you and depends on your sensitivity to risk. While the number of RFID-equipped cards are low currently, that number is likely to rise in the coming years. There are so many other ways for thieves to steal your personal information – telephone or email scams for example – that you should probably be more concerned with protecting those with strong passwords and checking credit reports frequently.
However, if you’re shopping for a new wallet or purse, it’s reasonable to consider adding RFID protection for tomorrow, even if it’s not needed today. Or, if you’re handy with a role of aluminum foil, you can block RFID signals effectively and inexpensively without ever leaving home.
For more information about protecting credit cards and minimizing your exposure to fraud, contact Mike Krause, Sales Sense Payments, www.salessensepayments.com or 585-704-6453.