Blog / RFID

5 Tips to Prevent Credit Card Skimming

How do contactless cards work?

A contactless card contains a chip that holds your account information and an antenna (a loop of copper wire around the edge of the card) which picks up power from the signal sent out by the card reader. A card-reading terminal emits an electromagnetic field – when a card enters this field it is powered 'on'. The chip and the reader communicate with each other using an encrypted language. The reader can then 'introduce itself' to the card. Only when the card recognises the reader will it 'reply' with a coded data transfer. The card terminal should then confirm that payment has been accepted – this usually happens instantly.

How do I know my card is contactless?

Contactless payment symbol on bank card


Look for the small logo that consists of four small curved lines, very similar in look to a wi-fi symbol. You will also find the corresponding logo on any payment terminal accepting RFID contactless cards for payment.

Where can I make contactless payments?

Many high street retailers, including Marks & Spencer, Boots and Sainsbury’s accept contactless cards, although there are still some major outlets such as Waitrose that do not have the infrastructure to offer contactless payments.

Credit card with arms and legs

So how can I protect myself?

  1. Leave your debit card at home and the PIN sealed in the original letter – that way if a fraudster took money from your account you can easily prove to the bank you hadn’t used it
  2. Wrap your card in tin foil – this prevents it from being read although it is not 100% effective
  3. Buy a blocking card – this credit card-sized device is intended to be kept close to vulnerable cards works by detuning the RFID signal of nearby cards. Again, this is not infallible
  4. Never hand over your card - If your card is taken out of your sight someone could run it through a skimming device
  5. We like a wallet with RFID protection Made specifically to block any potential digital hacks, our
    favourite in this space is Bellroy, in particular, their Travel Wallet with top-notch RFID protection. Other than leaving your cards at home this is the best way to prevent credit card skimming
Bellroy RFID blocking leather wallet

To learn more about RFID cards please click here. Or for an instant quote on our most popular NXP RFID chips, you can use our Price Calculator for quantities up to 10 000 units.

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