Can Foil Protect Credit Cards From Skimming?

By RFID Journal

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Ask The ExpertsCan Foil Protect Credit Cards From Skimming?
RFID Journal Staff asked 15 years ago

Will wrapping my credit cards in aluminum foil prevent the information they contain from being stolen by a nearby reader? I hate the idea of having to buy a special wallet to protect my credit cards from theft.

—Peter (Robbinsville, NC)


Dear Peter,

A lot of misinformation has been spread regarding the use of RFID in credit cards. The information written to an RFID tag is the same data written on the front of the card. If this information were sensitive, it would not be written on the front of the card, thus enabling any person to whom you hand the card to copy it down. The fact is, if someone were to use your card without your knowledge, credit-card companies have systems in place to detect potential fraud, and you would not be liable.

Some fear is being spread by those selling special wallets that protect your card from skimming, but to my knowledge, there has never been a single documented case of someone actually reading information off an RFID transponder in a credit card, and then using it to purchase items. But yes, if you are concerned, wrapping you card in aluminum foil will work as well as any special wallet.

—Mark Roberti, Editor, RFID Journal

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