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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116 Discussions

0
'BillH
'BillH

1 year ago

I tried to make according to the instructions and photos using aluminum foil as instructed and I ended up with 2 of these pouches or card holders if you prefer.
Using 4 strips of duct tape is not really needed, as I did a third one using just 3 strips of duct tape this way and I also used an aluminum soda pop can in place of the aluminum foil to see if it could be done and it does work and looks pretty good as well.
I cut 2 strips of duct tape approx 8 inches in length and then using an older pair of sissors I cut the top of the aluminum soda pop can off, then cut down the length of the can to the bottom and then cut the bottom off.
Once the bottom is removed, I then used the edge of my picnic table to rebend the small sheet of aluminum as flat as possible.
I took the 2 strips of duct tape and over lapped them according to the directions above and placed the once soda pop can aluminum sheet on the sticky side of the duct tape and trimmed the aluminum to fit the tape on all 4 sides.
I then used the clear packing tape on the aluminum can sheet as I did with the aluminum foil.
I then took 2 credit cards and layed them end to end and cut the end to give enough room for the cards to fit inside and I then using 1 card for measurement side to side trimmed the width.
I then folded this in half and cut 2 more pieces of duct tape to seal the edges with and trimmed them after the edges were sealed, I then cut the last piece of duct tape slightly longer than the length on both sides and used the extra to seal the top edges with this and it looks a bit better this way than without having the top edges sealed.

0
chuck.bade
chuck.bade

1 year ago

The type of crime described is just not happening. But if you believe it is possible, you can achieve the same thing just by putting an RFID card next to another RFID card, or next to a gum wrapper. I designed RFID systems for 20 years and was very successful, so I know about what can and can't be done.

0
davidd6
davidd6

Reply 1 year ago

I've definitely seen unauthorised RFID reading at a short distance, but it was by a security professional showing that its possible to copy someones door access card details without them realising - they had to manage to "naturally" get within about a foot of the badge with their reader though, but that would be easy in a train. tho I definitely agree with yrralguthrie below

3
Bright Idea
Bright Idea

1 year ago

Aluminum foil does NOT block RFID. Stop perpetuating this myth. Radio frequencies easily pass through aluminum, which is why you can use a garage door remote control with an aluminum garage door covering the opener. I have proven on YouTube that transponders are easily read through single and double layers of aluminum foil. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRiwi9uzXzA

0
jakekaiser
jakekaiser

1 year ago on Introduction

I’m curious? Can you use aluminum tape on a card sleeve, then wrap that with duct tape to do the job?

image.jpg
0
cer2010
cer2010

Reply 1 year ago

I am sure it will work but that tape (duct sealing tape) is very stiff. Bending it much might crack it. Foil is more flexible.

0
Alaskan Bev
Alaskan Bev

1 year ago

Thank you for the great photos and understandable instructions. I have always been hard on fragile items so I wouldn't trust aluminum foil to work for me. However, wearing strong gloves, I cut the top and bottom off of a donated energy drink can (I don't drink those), cut a straight line lengthwise down the can, flattened out the sheet, traced around a credit card, folded it over slightly larger, then wrapped decorative duct tape around the outside. I taped the top and bottom as well to prevent sharp edges cutting my fingers, and that has worked perfectly for years. I even took photos and planned to write an Instructable for it but never got around to it. If all this seems like too much work, the very functional anti-RFID wallets have become quite affordable.

1
GregS261
GregS261

1 year ago on Introduction

I just used clear package tape on foil to make a pouch it's less bulky!
I just had my card cloned and the card company told me it was stolen
at a gas pump. They told me never pay at the pump!

1
yrralguthrie
yrralguthrie

1 year ago on Step 7

Good instructable...but

"...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 ever realizing it..."

A popular tale, I'm not sure how accurate it is. Most theft of credit card information by RFID readers is done with a static reader at a machine where a credit card is used. Even those not so much anymore. They were too easy to detect. Credit card theft by a roving RFID reader is about as likely as winning a lottery. Far and away the majority of credit card theft is done via the internet. It's a little penny-wise and pound-foolish to use such a wallet and then use a normal browser.

0
bgipson1
bgipson1

1 year ago on Introduction

I made one very similar but used some Brass screen wire that I had on hand , works great , you can use foil , screen wire , most anything similar

0
Bearded Countryman
Bearded Countryman

1 year ago

Excellent tutorial! There’s people that can scan the credit card style keys for automobiles as well. This works great with those too!

1
mikey51
mikey51

2 years ago

I recently bought that copper mat for BBQ grills and was wondering if that type of woven copper sheet would also work?

2
kgklinkel
kgklinkel

Reply 2 years ago

Theoretically woven copper should work, since the weaves are smaller than the wavelength, but I can't say for sure. Make one and try it out, because now I'm curious!

0
Captain Nemo1
Captain Nemo1

Reply 1 year ago

I use a woven copper fabric manufactured especially for this application. It can be purchased online.

0
SunilN19
SunilN19

Reply 1 year ago

Sss , very good thouight , It does . Cheers mate.

0
syfr
syfr

Reply 1 year ago

If the openings are less than 1/10th the wavelength of the offending RF, yes, it should work fine.

0
Captain Nemo1
Captain Nemo1

Tip 1 year ago on Introduction

A nice inexpensive job...

I've made similar faraday card wallets using copper cloth, cell phone holders, and passport holders. I have ocassionaly experienced 'leakage' with the cell phone when the shielding doesn't wrap around the seams or have a flap. Just to be on the safe side, I now do the same with all my Faraday cages.

Cheers

0
Disasterific
Disasterific

Question 1 year ago

Do you happen to know what happens if the foil touches the chip on your card

0
jeggeling1978
jeggeling1978

Answer 1 year ago

I Assume you mean the chip on your card....not car.
There is no need to worry as all cards are known as passive RFID devices.
there is no power in a card so there is nothing to short.

0
TonK5
TonK5

Reply 1 year ago

There is one exception and that is when a static charge i.e from your hand gets transferred to the chip contacts, this may cause malfunction of the chip. So, putting a large metal object next to the chip without isolation may not be such a good idea.
if i remeber right, my bank told me not to touch the contacts....