In recent years, a large number of “RFID blocking” wallets have hit the market touting their ability to prevent criminals from surruptitiously accessing any NFC-capable smartcards in your wallet, such as your idenfitication or credit card. While these wallets do actually work, it turns out that you can actually turn just about any wallet into an RFID/NFC blocking wallet with just a few minutes of work and some aluminum foil.

The marketing copy for RFID blocking wallets often goes on at great length about their advanced RFID blocking security features, but they all work fundamentally in the same way. If you’ve read our whitepaper on anti-metal tags, you’re aware that metal near an NFC tag can heavily interfere with tag read performance. While this can be very annoying when you want to use an NFC tag, it’s fantastic for the situations where you instead want to prevent people from accessing a tag. So without further ado, the TapTrack Universal RFID Blocking Wallet Modification:

All it takes is a couple pieces of aluminum foil

It may not look like much, but if you just place a couple of pieces of aluminum foil between your cards and the exterior of your wallet, readers will be unable to penetrate the aluminum foil to read your tags when the wallet is closed.

Just place the aluminum foil so it’s between your cards and the wallet’s exterior

Interestingly, while the aluminum foil is sufficient to block a reader’s signal from reaching tags beyond it, it’s a small enough amount of metal that tags on top of it can usually still be read. So, if your wallet is constructed similarly to mine, you can place your transit card in the cash pocket and you may still have the convenience of tapping your wallet to pay for public transit.

Most of my cards are now shielded, but I can still board transit by tapping the wallet

Nov 14, 2016