What You Need to Know about Credit Card Safety

RFID Technology – What Is It?

If you use a credit or debit card, you should be aware that many of the cards use RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology. This technology allows users to simply wave their card in front of the payment machine and it instantly collects your information and charges your account without having to put your card into a card reader.  These “chips” are also used in access cards, passports and drivers licenses. As well, they are used in microchips that are implanted in our pets so to help identify them if they’re lost.  The technology is absolutely amazing, but it still has a ways to go before its perfect.

Current Fears 

As always, we have concerns about identity theft. RFID cards have been developed to be safer for the consumer to use, but can be less safe to carry than a regular credit card. RFID cards carry your account information on them and that information can be accessed with a simple scan. It’s quick and easy to use. The problem is that aside from using your cards as you pay for items, while you may be standing in line at a store, or any time you may be out and about in public, your cards can be discretely scanned by a thief and you would never even be aware that it has happened. It only takes a moment for the scanner to pick up your info which the thief can then use to create a copy for illicit use. Watch the video below for complete details.

How Do You Know if You Have an RFID Card?

RFID technology has widely been adopted by Canadian banks in the last 5 years, and they have been adding a RFID chip to many of their cards. These cards are identified by either the wave symbol, or the words PayPass, PayWave or Blink. You should check your cards to see if yours has one of these symbols on them so you know if you should be concerned or not. Many of the cards we hold in Canada have the RFID technology in them, and often we are simply not aware of it.

How to Protect Yourself

There are many providers who carry RFID security products to protect you from identification theft. You can purchase paper sleeves which are lined with aluminum which will deflect any such scanning devices.  These are inexpensive and work well. If you have several cards that need a sleeve, a wallet may be better for you. RFID wallets and passport holders have a security lining built in to them, and the info can only be accessed when you open them. Again, these can be fairly inexpensive and may save you thousands of dollars and years of trouble if you do experience this type of identity theft.

Passport Wallet and Security Shield

Final Thoughts

The advancing technology that we are being exposed to is amazing and eventually they hope that one day you will simply be able to take items off a store shelf and you will be scanned as you walk out the door. No more lineups and your account will be automatically charged. It will make things much quicker and easier. But we always have to be aware of the risks that can come with the technology. Do your research and be sure to protect yourself.  This video shows what shopping can look like in the future. I have to admit, it’s kind of frightening…

The Future of RFID

 RFID Shield Test

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