Each year presents a new take on what’s hot and what’s not. In 2017 we saw the rise of the Fidget Spinner and the world was getting more and more health conscious by drinking from reusable bottles instead of throw away plastic bottles. In 2018 we predict that digital security will be a hot topic. We want to feel safe but most of all, we want to know we are safe from all kinds of threats. If you don’t already know the term RFID, than we advise you to read on.
What is RFID?
RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification and is used in tiny chips. They are all around us and these devices have almost limitless applications. From finding your keys to identifying your pet. This simple, small chip that is only fractionally bigger than a grain of rice, stores information that can be read using a suitable receiver or scanner. Most of us already know this technology in the form NFC or Near Field Communication and from the clothing tags that prevent shoplifting.
How RFID works
Simple. When a suitable ‘reader’ or ‘scanner’ is activated, it scans the nearby field and if a RFID chip is found, it reads the information and it can perform certain tasks. For instance, if your cat has this chip planted inside it, you can read its unique ID number to confirm the cat belongs to you.
Debit and credit cards also use this technology more and more. By scanning your card, you can make small transactions without entering your pin number and swiping your card. This is superfast and saves you time. So a lot of people use this function for paying. But unfortunately it’s not all good news.
A lot of banks operate under the same rules. You can make small payments, say up to €50,-, without entering your pin number. When paying bigger amounts via the RFID chip in your card, you need to enter your pin number. Sounds pretty safe right?
Think again. When someone uses a suitable payment terminal and finds your RFID debit card, he or she can withdraw money from your account without you finding out it happened. Of course these amounts are not enormous but a big irritation nonetheless. Things get worse when someone finds out your pin number. For instance, while they take a sneaky look when you pay for your groceries.
In that case, it’s possible to steal large amounts of money from your bank account and you will only find out when it’s too late. Luckily, there is a solution.
More and more options are available to shield yourself from this problem. Of course you can simply disable the use of paying via RFID with your debit card. But given how easy it is to pay that way, it’s more ideal to combine safety with convenience.
There are two main option to choose from in that case. One is a wallet that shields the RFID signal. The other is a small case in which you can store your cards that also makes sure that the signal can’t be read by criminals. These are small, easy to use cases and offer a very inexpensive but secure countermeasure so you can enjoy all the comforts of wireless paying without the risks of others taking your money.
No case or suitable wallet near you at this moment? Then it is wise to carry your RFID enabled card deep in your wallet and not loose in your pocket so criminals have the worst chance of stealing from you while you go and find the proper protection.