Lifestyle accessories for deterring RFID skimming 

Melissa Teo, DigitalCFO Asia | 21 March 2022

Remember the time when cashiers inserted customers’ credit and debit cards into a device to process transactions? Now cashiers operate on a contact-less approach, customers tap their cards on a scanner to pay. Customers may also have realised waving the card near the scanner is sufficient for the signal to be detected, hence the name paywave. Ever wondered how this act (akin to waving a magic wand) is accomplished? 

This act is enabled by RFID (radio frequency identification) tags embedded in cards. RFID tags emit radio magnetic waves to identify the cardholder’s information and card details. These tags are also embedded in biometric passports. 

Fraudsters have noticed the loophole in this set-up and taken advantage of it. By holding a card-reading device near RFID-enabled cards and passports, personal information can be retrieved. Card-reading devices are readily available in the market and at low prices. Concealing the device in a baggy shirt sleeve and roaming around crowds on public transport and malls, fraudsters can stealthily commit the crime of RFID skimming

Almost, if not all new credit and debit cards are contactless, and not offering the option to disable it. As such, how do individuals protect themselves against RFID skimming? Here’s a list of wallets and passport cases with RFID shields. 


Wallets

For Men — Bellroy Hide & Seek 

Image from Bellroy

Featuring eco-friendly leather and a holding capacity of 5 to 12 cards, this Bellroy wallet further stands out by being available in 2 sizes, high or low. The high version is suitable for bills taller than 74mm, and the low version is suitable for bills lower than 74mm. Singapore dollars fit the high version. It also doubles up as a travel-friendly wallet with a hidden bill compartment (along with a regular exposed compartment). 

It retails from SGD$99-129 on Bellroy website.

For Women — Fossil Logan RFID Mini Multifunction 

Image from Fossil Singapore

Fossil’s Logan wallet is small in size, but big on pockets. Measuring no wider than a regular female hand, this is a wallet you can hold with ease on days your bottoms are pocket-less. It features 5 card slots, 1 notes compartment, 1 ID window and 2 gusseted pockets handy for separating coins or storing small and easily misplaced items like thumb-drives or SD cards. And that’s not all. The exterior has another zipper pocket and a back slide pocket perfect for inserting public transport cards for quick access.

It retails at SGD$119 on Fossil Singapore website.


Card Sleeves

For Everyone — Herschel Charlie Wallet

Image from Herschel Singapore

A minimalist sleeve for slotting cards for daily usage. Storing up to 4 cards, it comes in 28 designs and colours. Some designs are special editions made from leather with embossed logos. Others are in colour-blocking style with a card slot made of silicone layer. 

It retails from SGD$31.90-$59.90 on Herschel Singapore website.


Passport Cases

For Men — Fossil Leather RFID Passport Case 

Image from Fossil Singapore

This passport case features brushed silver hardware, an embossed icon of an airplane and the word ‘passport’ on the cover.  The inner sleeve also has the word ‘passport’ embossed to indicate the slot for inserting your passport. It has 5 card slots, a zipper compartment, and a slide pocket for storing travel paraphernalia. Available in brown leather, it is a classic piece for your travel bag.

It retails at SGD$119 on Fossil Singapore website.

For Women — Fossil Travel Passport Case 

Image from Fossil Singapore

Part of Fossil’s eco-friendly leather collection, this green case’s front cover is 3D-embossed with wavy lines. It has 1 passport pocket, 1 slide pocket, 1 zip pocket, 4 credit card slots. The words ‘This’ and ‘& That’ are engraved in gold on the left and right of the inner sleeve, adding a witty edge to this case. 

It retails at SGD$129 on Fossil Singapore website.

For Everyone — Bellroy Travel Folio 

Image from Bellroy

Bellroy’s Travel Folio opens up in a zip-around style to pockets for 2 passports, 4-8 cards, and a slot for a SIM card. A leather divider also keeps cash hidden from plain sight. The folio comes with a micro pen for filling out travel documents. A regular sized pen slot is also included for those with larger hands and preferring a full sized pen.

It retails at SGD$199 on Bellroy website.


RFID Sleeves

For Everyone — RFID Protection Sleeve 

Image from Shopee Singapore

An affordable alternative and simple solution to deterring RFID skimming is by placing passports/cards into RFID sleeves. This is for those who have too few RFID cards to justify getting a new wallet or those who don’t require a passport sleeve with multiple pockets. 

It retails at SGD$2.50 on Shopee Singapore website for 2 passports sleeves or 5 card sleeves.


Besides equipping yourself with RFID wallets and cases, regularly monitoring bank statements is also crucial. To be alerted of possible fraud transactions in real time, one could set phone notifications for all card transactions and bank account transfers. Electronic pick-pocketing is diversifying, deterring it in style with sleek wallets, passport cases and concentrated attention to bank account activity is the way to go. 


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