3 min read

Contactless payments are on the rise, especially since the pandemic, but do all credit cards really need protection? In this article, we’ll answer whether or not you need to have an RFID wallet for your EMV card. We’ll also share some of our favorite wallets in case you’re in the market for an RFID-blocking wallet.

What is an EMV card?

EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, and Visa. These companies are considered the “founders” of EMV, as it was because of them that EMV was accepted as the worldwide standard. An EMV card contains a chip that communicates with point-of-sale (POS) terminals to process transactions initiated on debit cards and credit cards. EMV cards can be used in contact and contactless payments.

 There are two ways to “dip” (not swipe) an EMV card: 

  • Chip and Signature: To process a payment using an EMV card, the cardholder would have to provide a signature. Chip-and-signature cards are common in the U.S.
  • Chip and PIN: Chip-and-pin cards are more common outside the U.S. To pay, the cardholder would have to provide a PIN code.

Is an EMV card more secure?

An EMV card is more secure than a magnetic-stripe or magstripe card. This is because an EMV card contains a smart chip that can’t be cloned. Compared to traditional cards, an EMV card’s data is encrypted on its chip instead of stored on a magnetic strip. Each time it processes a transaction, it generates a code that can’t be reused. Basically, your EMV card is embedded with its own computer system.

Can EMV cards be “skimmed”?

You’ve likely heard of RFID (radio-frequency identification) skimming. If you haven’t, it’s when cybercriminals steal the data in your credit card through a skimmer, a device that relies on radio waves to scan the victim’s credit card wirelessly. It’s the threat that has forced cardholders to buy RFID-blocking wallets like the Ascent Wallet. So, if you think that keeping your front pocket wallet on a clip-on keychain is sufficient to keep it safe, think again.

Since EMV cards don’t contain magnetic strips, does that mean you no longer need to keep it safe with an RFID-blocking wallet?

Criminals could easily clone cards with magnetic strips, but it’d be impossible to clone an EMV card. To clone it, they’d have to get their hands on the card. They would then need to access it, which can be incredibly technical.

So, no, you wouldn’t need an RFID wallet to protect your EMV card. You would, however, still need a front pocket wallet to protect it from scratches and the like.

Are all credit cards EMV cards?

Around 66.4% of payment cards across the world contain EMV chips. However, it is worth mentioning that if your card has an EMV chip, it can also use near-field communication (NFC). This means that your card can be compatible with EMV, NFC, and RFID. If this is the case, your card can be read remotely, so you should consider purchasing an RFID wallet.

What RFID wallet should you buy?

It depends on what you want in a wallet. If you want a wallet for travel and adventure, a tactical wallet is your best bet. The Contour Wallet, for instance, features compartments for cash, cards, and more, but it also offers functionality that would put any seasoned adventurer’s rugged gear to shame.

contour wallet

If you want a multipurpose wallet, opt for something like the Summit Notebook. It has strengthened RFID resistance, so you can rest easy knowing that your credit cards are safe as you complete your day-to-day tasks.

Don’t want to get rid of your current wallet? An alternative to an RFID-blocking wallet is an RFID-blocking card. To use it, simply slip your card into the insert. RFID cards such as the RFID Armor Plate are slim, so you can carry your card in your wallet without it getting too big. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, try wrapping your credit card in tin foil. That should keep it safe from RFID skimmers.

rfid armor plate

Summary

To sum it up, you don’t need an RFID wallet if your credit card is compatible with EMV technology only. However, if your credit card is EMV+NFC, then you should consider buying an RFID wallet in case a criminal decides to steal your data remotely. After all, you can’t put a price on the peace of mind that you’ll get from protecting your card.

If you’re in the market for an RFID-blocking wallet, check out Trayvax today. We have a wide range of RFID wallets that suit every man and woman’s style.


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