Using Credit Card Sleeves to Protect Yourself When Traveling

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Credit Card Chip

When traveling on business there are a lot of things that someone needs to consider. How mobile am I? Did I leave anything behind at my last hotel? A newer concern that has become increasingly problematic is identity theft. Today, someone can use an RFID scanner to steal your credit card information without actually looking at it. As the video shows, just swiping a scanner near a credit card can allow identity thief to collect your name, credit card number, and expiration date.

Why is this happening?

In the past, credit cards only had a magnetic strip that needed to be swiped in order to make purchases. Today, most credit cards have a magnetic chip similar to this one:

These chips are very convenient at times and generally allow for greater security when purchasing items. The problem though is they are susceptible to RFID scanners. Contactless RFID smart readers can be purchased for as cheap as $30 on eBay and can be used by hackers to steal your information.

What is the solution?

Products like RFID Guardian Sleeves protect cards from RFID scanners. They are fairly affordable too at only $165 for 1000 of them. For businesses with a rather large sales department, providing these readers to their employees could be a wise investment. For one, they ensure that company credit card information won’t be stolen. Two, they can actually be branded quite effectively. For example, branding can be placed on one side and on the other, you can place a calendar or tipping guide. Here’s how one university chose to use the credit card sleeves they produced:

university logo credit card sleeves

Aside from protecting your cards with products like these, you also should be aware of your surroundings. In areas like airports, people can often be very close to one another and this is the perfect opportunity for thieves to strike. Most contactless RFID scanners require someone to be fairly close to the card, so if someone seems oddly focused on your back pocket or feels too close, it would probably make sense to move away.

What about protecting a company card from the elements?

Many times, a company will provide their traveling employee with a company credit card to charge expenses, but would prefer that card to be kept separate from the employee's wallet. Tyvek envelopes are a more cost effective way to do that. Those envelopes cost about half as much as the RFID Guardian sleeves and protect magnetic-striped cards from damage and scratches. Like the RFID sleeves, they also provide a marketing opportunity for a business. Any sleeve can be custom logo’ed with content on both the front and back of the sleeve.