Information Security
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Updated Sat, 11 Jun 2022 20:33:46 GMT

RFID-Safe Wallet destroys mag stripe?


I'm getting a hang of paying with credit cards, and contactless payment especially, lately (which was quite uncommon where I live until like a few months ago). I'm now looking to buy one of these small credit card wallets because of the comfort and small profile, but also in order to get something with RFID safety.

I'm not really informed on how they actually work. However while searching for a good looking wallet online, I now read on multiple articles that people are complaining about the RFID system destroying their credit cards (the magnetic stripe).

I'm now concerned about whether really getting such a RFID safe wallet. Is it possible for systems like that to destroy your credit cards in such a way?




Solution

Short answer: No.
Long answer: Nooooooo.

Longer answer: RFIDs typical work via magnetic coupling to both power and to transmit data. By modulating the load on the secondary coil of the magnetic couple (aka transformer), the RFID card is able to effect a back EMF on the primary coil.

RFID-proof wallets disrupt this by creating a Faraday cage (i.e. opaque box to RF) which prevents the magnetic coupling from occurring.

In order words, it is literally a tinfoil hat.

Seriously. You can build your own RFID-proof wallet by putting tinfoil in it.