Simple RFID Blocking Wallet

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Introduction: Simple RFID Blocking Wallet

This instructable is for how to make a very simple yet effective RFID-blocking pouch using materials you already have at home.

In the last few years, there has been a rise in crime involving people going around with RFID readers and stealing people's credit card information without the victims even realizing it. Having an RFID-blocking wallet is the simplest and most effective measure to prevent this from happening to you.

RFID (Radio Frequency ID) is a technology that allows a reader to get an identification from a passive device by reading the device-specific response to a band of radio frequencies. Just by being near the reader, a device with an RFID tag or chip can be read wirelessly and instantly. The advantage of this is convenience. For example, you can now pay the bus fare by tapping a pre-loaded card on an RFID reader when you step on the bus. Many credit cards now have the ability to pay by tapping on an RFID reader -- no swiping or inserting necessary. The disadvantage of this is how conveniently easy it is for thieves to get your credit card information (or more). And worse, they can do it right in front of you and you won't even realize it!

Luckily, you can protect yourself in minutes by making yourself a simple RFID-Blocking Wallet!

(NOTE: I have tested this using my RFID bus pass on the bus, and verified that the RFID reader was not able to read the card while it was inside this pouch. It worked exactly as intended.)

Step 1: Materials

All you need is:

  • Duct Tape
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Scissors

(The important part is the Aluminum Foil -- its purpose is to create a sort of Faraday Cage around the finished pouch, which blocks / attenuates any electromagnetic signals (i.e. RF signals) coming from outside the pouch.)

Step 2: Duct Tape

Lay down duct tape so that the strips overlap slightly and create a sheet. Make this larger than you will need the finished pouch to be.

Step 3: Aluminum Foil

Lay the aluminum foil [carefully] onto your duct tape sheet. The aluminum foil should lay flat for best results.

Step 4: Packing Tape

The final layer of the material is the clear packing tape. This protects the aluminum foil and prevents the metal from touching the chips on credit cards.

Lay the clear packing tape onto the aluminum foil side. Like you did the duct tape, overlap the strips slightly. Cover the entire area that has duct tape on the opposite side.

Step 5: Cut to Size

Trim away the edges to create a rectangle. Then, using a credit-card-sized card, cut the material so that it will be just larger than a credit card when folded in half.

Step 6: Tape Edges

Finally, to close the pouch, duct tape the edges and trim the excess away.

Step 7: Done!

You're done! Put your credit/debit cards in here, and if you'd like put it in your wallet. Now your cards are safe from thieves who use RFID scanners to steal credit card info.

(Although the one I made worked, please make sure to try out your own pouch before trusting your cards in it!)

I hope you found this instructable useful! If you have any other ideas or modifications from this, please post them in the comments, I'd love to hear them!

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51 Discussions

I point blank refuse to use the RFID technology and as most if not all banks refuse to issue cards without the RFID facility, I now routinely disable the RFID capability by drilling a 3mm hole through the credit card where the antenna is embedded in it. This is easy to do by shining a strong light through the card to show where the antenna wires are. Of course, this completely and permanently disables instant payments but I prefer that to the possibility of having my card "skimmed". The card still works normally in a shop card reader machine it just requires that I enter my PIN.

2 replies

My idea also... thanks for the info as well... all this crap with foil and duct tape is a waste of time. I read about drilling out the chip a few years ago but never heard of anyone doing it.. Thanks again for the info,,,,

Can't you just use a punch and eliminate the chip in the card? Drill it out or use a hole punch and just use the magnetic strip and swipe the card for purchases? That way they can't read your info and you need to use code to access your account? By the way the copper bbq mat is a waste of time.. made a mess on the grill and I will just use my cast iron .

I added a bit more material to make a flap, cut a small slit into it and attached a button onto the body to create a flap that stays closed to make sure my cards don't fall out, love it!

They will probably ask you to open it for inspection, as it should come up on their screen as an unidentified mass..

There's no reason it wouldn't, as far as I can tell

In ventilation duct-work, self-adhesive aluminium tape is often used. It has a really strong adhesive backing and is particularly useful for molding round odd shapes. It is classed as Class 0 in the UK at least (i.e. fully conductive) and has caused some fatalities where it inadvertently comes into contact with a live conductor.

I remember my mother having a fine chain mail purse (way before RFID) and high voltage linesmen use chain mail overalls for working on distribution systems. Meat processing workers also use chain mail for various items of protection against knives etc. The advantage of chain mail is that it's fully flexible

1 reply

Good comment , Used to make the stuff, it`s a lot thicker than just plain foil but surprisingly flexible stuff .

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DolevG

25 days ago

Thank for the guide!

2018-07-20 12.48.36.jpg

This is great! I'm going to make one for my daughter, who just got her first job and gets paid using a Pay Card (in lieu of a paper paycheck - so many companies are switching to them now). I'm going to get some fun printed duct tape, though, like Marvel or something, and will be sure to post a photo of the finished product when I get it made! Thanks for the idea!

1 reply

I love the Día de los Muertos theme you chose! Thanks for sharing!

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JUSII9

5 weeks ago

OH COOL, DIDNT KNOW DUCKTAPE WAS SO HANDY IN THIS CASE...

I used the metalized bag from potato chips as an RF blocker. I tested it by placing a radio in the bag and no RF penetrated the bag. Cut out sheets and placed them inside the wallet next to the outside leather cover.

I'm going to build a similar device using a toilet paper tube to keep my car keys in. This is to prevent thieves with RF amplifiers from using the keyless door locks and igintion. I'll follow up and let you know how it worked.

2 replies

I've never heard of this version of RFID theft! How does it work?

Your key fob transponds with your car to authenticate and open doors or turn on ignition. It only works a few feet away usually. If thieves use an amplifier they can make the signals more powerful so they can connect the key fob on your nightstand connect with the car as if you were close. They can then start it (once) and drive away while you sleep. If your key fob is in a Faraday cage they can't get to it.

I never thought of this until now!..very useful tip...thanks for sharing!