Blog — RFID

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RFID Retrofit

Folks have been very pleased with the RFID blocking versions of the wallets… the protection doesn’t add any bulk, making them the world’s thinnest RFID blocking wallet. The only thing people have not been happy about is when I run out of inventory!

From a logistical perspective, adding a feature like this requires potentially doubles the number of products in the line. When you add together all the color, size, and material combinations, there are now over 50 wallet options! So projecting how many to make of each specific one and keeping up with demand can be a challenge.

But there’s one little hack with can help out a lot… the RFID protection for the MICROs (Tyvek and Soft Shell) are added at the end of the manufacturing process. If I run out of regular models, a RFID one can be converted by taking that layer out. And a non-RFID blocking version can be converted using the RFID card sleeves. Here’s how...

  1. The card sleeves come in a 2-pack and we’ll insert one in each outer portion of the wallet, thereby protecting everything in-beween. Open up the MICRO (Tyvek or Soft Shell). In the middle section behind where the bills go, you'll see a thin plastic reinforcement piece on each side. 


  2. Slide one of the card sleeves in between the plastic piece and the outer layer of wallet material. This allows extra cards to be inserted into that inner pocket smoothly by sliding along the plastic reinforcement.


  3. Slide the other card sleeve in the other side the same way. If at any point you want to take them out, you can just do the reverse.
The RFID protection of the Originals is inserted in the same way, except they are sewn in so are permanent in that model.

You’ll notice that for some models, I don’t make RFID but this lets you, for example, order one of the orange Tyvek MICROs and turn it into RFID blocking. Or if I’m ever out of stock, just also pick up a set of card sleeves and you’re all set.

Let me know how that goes for you and if any questions come up...
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RFID Blocking Explained

I introduced the RFID blocking option to both the Tyvek and Soft Shell line based on many requests for this functionality. Lots of customers choose this option, but others have noticed it and wondered what RFID is and whether they need a wallet to block it. I’m not going to try to convince you to get it, just explain what it is as best I can so you can decide. Here's a brief explanation and answers to the most common questions...
RF stands for Radio Frequency and ID is Identification. It’s basically a way of transmitting information over the air between objects. There are a wide variety of applications for the technology, but the main ones are paymentsidentification, and building access badges. If you have a credit card with PayPass or something similar, then it has the capability to transmit its information if placed near one of these readers. The concern is that it’s easy to get small readers which can be used by someone to get close to you and “skim” the information from your card, without ever taking your wallet out of your pocket. In fact, many mobile devices can read this info.
 
More recently, personal information has also begun to be embedded into RFID-enabled IDs. Cards from Washington, Michigan, New York, Vermont, and Canada all contain RFID chips with personal information. I don’t know whether the information can be actually stolen this way (they should have encryption, etc.) but many people who have these cards would prefer to prevent the information from being able to be transferred.
Probably the most common use for RFID cards is for building access. It’s convenient and fairly secure to have employees badge in to buildings, elevators, and rooms. I’ve worked in places where you need to swipe your badge to go through every almost door! So it certainly is convenient to be able to badge through these doors without taking your badge out of your wallet… or even your wallet out of your pocket if it’s at the right height.
The RFID blocking in SlimFold wallets blocks the frequencies typically found in paymentidentification, and transit cards (13.56 MHz and above). It only blocks the building access cards if they also works on these same frequencies. Most people seem to want to block their payment cards through their wallets while still using building access cards- and that’s usually the case. And if your building access cards are blocked, the RFID inserts in the MICRO can actually be removed and put back in. That lets you add RFID protection if you go on a trip or something. (The RFID blocking material in the Original models are sewn in, however.)  Your other alternative is to get a non-RFID blocking wallet and then use the RFID card sleeves to protect just the cards that have chips.
So do you need RFID? The actual risk is probably not that high… and it of course depends on a lot of things like the risk factors of where you live and the cards you have. But I hope this helps clear up what the blocking feature is to help you decide. Feel free to reach out with any questions!

FAQ

Does it make the wallet thicker or heaver?
Nope! Unlike some wallets that include bulky or heavy material, I use a patented alloy/Tyvek laminate. This results in the Tyvek models being the thinnest RFID blocking wallets in the world.
Will my building access badge work through it?
Probably but it depends on the frequency it uses. I’ve been finding that it tends to attenuate the signal of building access cards, making you need to get a bit closer to use them, but that it still works. Meanwhile, it will block payment, ID, and transit cards. If that’s a deal breaker, you can order both versions and then send back one of them.
Is the protection removable?
For the MICRO, yes. For the Original, no.
Will my train/bus pass work through it?
Probably not. Some folks have experimented with the placement of the card by putting it between the RFID blocking material and the outer layer of the wallet, but I haven’t heard definitive results about that yet. If you try it, please let me know how it works for you!
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New Tyvek RFID Version

Last October I introduced the world’s first RFID blocking Tyvek wallet. I partnered with a producer of a proprietary RFID blocking Tyvek to design an entire wallet out of it rather than just card sleeves. They were very well received and the print run completely sold out before the end of the year.

Recently, I introduced the RFID Soft Shell which is produced by inserting this same material into the wallet during production. That method worked so well that I’ve decided to carry it over to the Tyvek line:

  • Now the world’s thinnest RFID blocking wallet is even thinner.
  • The Original size Tyvek RFID wallets now double-fold more easily.

In addition to the previous black models, Gray/Orange MICRO RFID and Gray/Orange Original RFID is available for pre-order and will ship the first week of February.

The wallets block cards which operate at 13.56 MHz and above including:

  • ID Cards (Canada, Washington, Michigan, New York, and Vermont)
  • Credit cards (PayPass, Blink, sQuid)
  • Military cards (CAC Common Access Cards)
  • Building access cards* (HID iClass, HID MIFARE, HID FlexSmart, DESFire)
  • Transit cards (Boston Charlie, DC Metro)
  • Government cards (e.g., TWIC-Transportation Worker Identification Credential)

*Some building access cards are NOT shielded including HID 125 KHz.

I hope you enjoy this new line of RFID Tyvek wallets and I look forward to hearing what you think...

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