Science

Best RFID wallets to guard your digital identity

Digital identity theft is a very real issue and electronic pickpocketing should be considered just as much as physical pickpocketing. When in close enough proximity, scanning devices can possibly be used to steal account information stored in the credit and debit cards. This is known as radio-frequency identification (RFID) skimming. It’s uncommon, but it’s also relatively simple to protect yourself against by purchasing one of the best RFID wallets. 

The bad news is your traditional wallet likely won’t do the trick. The good news is there’s no reason to constantly worry about someone skimming your information without you even realizing it. RFID blocking wallets are very common now and work by creating a virtual shield for your RFID cards. Think of them as a force field.

How we selected the best rfid wallets

There’s a decent selection of RFID wallets, ranging in price, style, size, and functionality. For our final recommended list of best RFID wallets, we first took a look at dozens of choices. 

Choosing the right one can be overwhelming. We have selected options to fit practically any lifestyle and budget as prices can range from as little as $10 to upwards of a couple of hundred dollars. With the highest priced wallet on this list being less than $100, we didn’t find any additional benefits that wallets priced higher than $100 had that would make it worth spending the extra money on them. 

We considered key features such as the level of RFID protection, the size of the wallet, style vs functionality, the material used to produce the wallet, and manufacturer reputation. Skimmers can use a wide array of devices to snoop on your info, so

Best RFID wallet reviews and recommendations

Best for minimalists: Buffway Slim

Money minimalist

This wallet is perfect for someone who doesn’t need to carry around much. Buffway

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Specs:

  • Measures 3 ⅛” x 4 7/16” x 1/8” 
  • Weighs 1.05 oz
  • Includes 8 slots
  • Front pocket money clip

Why it made the cut: It’s slim and lightweight, but still provides RFID blocking technology and space for your essentials ultimately making it great for individuals looking to lighten their load while protecting their identity. 

Pros:

  • Extremely compact
  • Comes in 20+ colors 
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not able to block 125KHz signals (i.e. hotel room keys and access cards)
  • Doesn’t form a complete cage around cards

Having a wallet that is strong, durable, and offers RFID protection doesn’t have to automatically mean bulky. Whether you’re traveling or just prefer to not feel weighed down by a clunky wallet, a slim, minimalist wallet is a must. 

We were impressed with the lightweight and slimness of the Buffway Slim Wallet and how it proves that big things can come in small packages. While weighing just over one ounce and ⅛ of an inch in thickness, this wallet still provides plenty of space to carry your essential cards and cash. Included are four slots that can hold credit, debit, and bank cards, one clear slot made for your ID, work badge, or driver’s license, two side-slip pockets for items such as business cards or train passes, and one middle pocket for cash, tickets, receipts, and more.

This wallet is equipped with a protective layer that blocks 13-14Mhz electronic signals, which includes the most common radio frequencies, from trying to retrieve your personal information.

The Buffway Slim Wallet is available in almost 30 different colors ranging from neutrals to pastels to bright hues. Each wallet is 100% genuine leather with a polyester lining.

Best zippered wallet: Travelambo

Zip it up

This wallet is a good choice for someone looking for plenty of compartments while still being stylish.
Travelambo

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Specs:

  • Measures 8” x 4” x 1”
  • 100% leather

Why it made the cut: Its design includes zipper and button closures giving users an alternative to a bifold or trifold. 

Pros:

  • Plenty of space
  • Comes in 30+ colors 
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Requires some breaking in
  • Can get bulky fairly quickly 
  • Doesn’t fit more recent (larger) smart phones

The Travelambo zippered wallet is impressive first and foremost for its large capacity. It offers 16 slots for cards, 1 window slot for an ID card, and 2 zippered pockets. Your credit and debit cards, receipts, coupons, cash, and more can all easily fit in this practical and stylish wallet without feeling like it’s overloaded. You can use the inner button when the wallet is on the fuller side and the further button while empty.

The Travelambo wallet is available in more than 30 color options ranging from basic neutrals to bold colors. Each wallet is handmade from genuine leather. Because it fully closes around the cards, it creates a more effective layer of RFID protection than an open-faced wallet.

Best hard-sided wallet: The Ridge

Tactical traits

This wallet is made for your front pocket Ridge

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Specs:

  • Military-grade 6061-T6 aluminum
  • Anodized gunmetal plates
  • Weighs 2 ounces
  • Interchangeable elastic and screws
  • Removable money clip or cash strap

Why it made the cut: Its design is very unique compared to other wallets and it’s super-durable. 

Pros:

  • Military-grade materials
  • Minimal design
  • Lots of material options

Cons:

  • Less color choices than others
  • Highest price on the list
  • Some finishes scratch easliy

With design and functionality in mind, the Ridge Wallet takes up minimal space without limiting its use. The main compartment is expandable but hard-sided, giving it the capability to hold 1-12 cards and stretches to hold exactly what you put in it. 

When it comes to cash, this wallet provides two great options both of which are removable. The money clip holds less cash but is quickly accessible. 

This wallet has a dual-track design which includes RFID-blocking inner plates to protect all of your important information and valuable cards. It works in a front pocket, but it can also survive in a purse. You don’t want to put it in your back pocket, since it hard sides won’t be comfortable.

Most fashionable: Fossil

The traditionalist

If you’re searching for something with added protection that looks like your current wallet, this one will fit the bill. Fossil

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Specs:

  • 100% leather
  • Bifold closure
  • Flip ID window
  • Front slide pocket
  • Measures 4.5” x 0.75” x 3.56”

Why it made the cut: Its traditional look and design is perfect for individuals weary of change.

Pros:

  • Several compartments
  • Traditional look

Cons:

  • Fewer color choices than others

The initial impression of this Fossil wallet may be that it looks like one you currently own. That’s because it still has Fossil’s highly-loved look while providing extra levels of protection for essentially the same price and without adding extra bulk.

This RFID wallet has what has traditionally been referred to as a masculine design. Perfectly fitting in your front or back pocket, it is a great size for someone that isn’t quite ready to go as small as a minimalist design but still wants something that will fit in their pocket.

Best for passports: Zoppen

With travelers in mind

Its slim chic design is still capable of being functional and practical. ZOPPEN

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Specs:

  • Faux leather
  • Tri fold closure
  • Measures 7.75” x 5” x 1”
  • Weighs 6 ounces

Why it made the cut: Its design combines practicality, plenty of space, and style into one slim package. 

Pros:

  • Great for travel
  • Several compartments
  • Over 30+ color options

Cons:

  • Only effective on a frequency of 13.56Mhz
  • Small coin pocket

This extremely spacious wallet is made with travelers in mind. The multiple compartments will hold all of your daily and travel essentials including a passport pouch that can hold up to two standard US passports. Other compartments include eight slots for cards, a flap compartment for coupons or receipts, a coin zipper pocket, a pen holder, and a SIM card slot.

What is really impressive about the Zoppen Passport Holder is the capability to hold things outside of financial-related items. It also includes a smartphone pocket that holds a phone with a maximum size of 154 x 77 x 7.7mm. It also includes a key ring so you can keep your phone, money, and keys all connected. 

This wallet makes for a great choice for someone who likes the cosmetic look of the leather wallets but prefers not to have genuine leather. It is produced using premium polyurethane (PU) leather and faux suede.

Best anti-theft protection: Pacsafe V100

Security first

If your first priority is security when looking for a RFID wallet, this one will likely be a good fit. Pacsafe

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Specs:

  • Bifold
  • Measures 5.12” x 0.39” x 4.72”
  • Weighs 3 ounces
  • Nylon and polyester
  • Blocks transmission of 10Mhz to 3GHz

Why it made the cut: It’s great for travel, durability, and the added level or protection. 

Pros:

  • Great for travel
  • Extra security
  • Unisex
  • Mid-range pricing

Cons:

  • Not as stylish as other options
  • May be slightly bulky for a pocket

Pacsafe is a brand known for its dedication to security and mobility. The Pacsafe V100 Wallet is made with Pacsafe’s award-winning RFIDsafe blocking material as well as a detachable, hard-to-cut Dyneema webbing strap. This strap makes it harder for pickpockets to slash the strap in their attempt to steal it. It can also be used to wrap it around your wrist or secured to a belt loop while in your pocket. One step further, the loop tightens around your wrist or belt if it is dropped or grabbed. 

As for the storage capabilities, this wallet includes a zippered note slot, a slip note slot, five slots for cards, and a split pocket. 

The RFIDsafe blocking material blocks out between 10MHz to 3GHz, which covers the radio frequency used in most e-passports, credit cards, ID cards, and key cards.

What to consider when buying a RFID wallet

What should you consider when you’re searching to buy a quality RFID wallet? Here are some things you’ll want to keep in mind before making your purchase:

  • Price: RFID wallets come in a wide variety of materials and it will be up to personal preference on what type of material you’d like to utilize. Options include genuine and synthetic leather, military-grade materials, and other synthetic materials. 
  • Material: Higher price points usually are due to special features such as lifetime guarantees, anti-theft properties, or mainstream brand names. However, if you have a small budget, there are plenty of stylish and practical options for under $20.
  • Planned Usage: Whether you’re looking for something to use in your day-to-day life, just when you travel, or for all occasions will likely drive your decision by a decent amount. Some very minimalist designs may not be practical if you’re headed on a trip with travel documents and other additional items you need to keep safe. On the other hand, a wallet made with travel in mind may just be too bulky to use everyday for your taste.

FAQs

Q: Do RFID wallets really work?

RFID wallets can effectively prevent the transmission to possible thieves. The range of wallets and other products that have RFID-blocking features has risen tremendously in recent years. The chances you’ll get skimmed are low, but the penalty for failure is high and the cost for protection is low.

Q: Do RFID wallets ruin credit cards?

Generally, the only time this could possibly be an issue is with a wallet that has magnetic closures. However, this applies to non-RFID wallets as well. Other magnetic sources such as refrigerator magnets, speakers, and TVs are possible sources that could demagnetize cards.

Q: Is RFID the same as a chip card?

In short, no. Chip cards are called EMV cards. The difference being that an EMV chip card must be inserted into the reader while an RFID card just has to get close to one. An example would be just touching your card to the reader, rather than inserting or swiping it. To know if you have an RFID card, look for radio waves on the card which is similar to the symbol you see on your phone or computer when you’re connected to Wi-Fi.

Final thoughts about RFID wallets

If you still have the same wallet from high school, you may consider that it’s time to update the item that carries some of the most important information in your life. Taking just a little bit of time to find and pick the best RFID wallets will pay off in the long run. Having a wallet that protects you against theft in your back pocket will give you some peace of mind. 



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