How to protect your Paywave card from electronic pickpockets

Will an RFID skimguard save your savings, or are they a waste of money?

Protecting your Paywave

With RFID (which stands for Radio Frequency IDentification) technology being used for many credit and debit cards, as well as being an integral part of all new Australian passports, it is becoming more important to protect your money and identity from cyber theft.

RFID technology is what allows your credit card to work with the Paywave system. But this also means that it is possible for a high-tech pickpocket to walk down the street with an RFID reader wirelessly grabbing information from the cards in your handbag or pocket as they walk past.

However, with every new security threat comes a solution. Now people are able to purchase RFID-blocking wallets or skimguards to keep their cards safe from would-be thieves.

Firstly, though, it is important to point out that this type of theft is currently very rare.

While police have linked tap-and-go cards with an increase in theft, most of this involves thieves using an actual card stolen from a wallet or purse to take money from victim’s accounts.

The banks and financial institutions that issue Paywave cards insist the technology is just as safe as your regular credit cards, and that all transmitted information  is safely encrypted, but some people may still prefer having extra piece of mind.

RFID-blocking wallets or skimguards will impede your cards’ RFID signals, making them harder to read remotely by digital pickpockets.

If you do want to protect your cards without forking out the cash for a skimguard, you can take the simple approach and wrap your credit cards in aluminium foil, which will serve exactly the same function.

Also, remember that if a thief does steal your card or skim your details and collect a payment, contact your bank as soon as possible and they will reimburse you for any money lost.

Do you trust Paywave technology? Or are you worried about skimmers taking your money?


    All content on the YourLifeChoices' website is of a general nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It has been prepared with due care, but no guarantees are provided for ongoing accuracy or relevance. Before making a decision based on this information, you should consider its appropriateness with regard to your circumstances. You should seek professional advice from a financial planner, lawyer or tax agent in relation to any aspects that affect your financial and legal circumstances. Financial comments provided by readers cannot be relied on as professional advice, but as general comments only.


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    30th Jan 2018
    I have a piece of silver cardboard in my wallet that protects my cards from any potential theft. Foil is too fragile.

    You can actually purchase the RFID card protectors on e-Bay from $1.00 each. Don't buy them from retail shops as they can cost up to around $5.00 each.
    30th Jan 2018
    SuziJ, That is a great idea. I agree foil is too fragile. Where did you get a piece of silver cardboard ?
    30th Jan 2018
    Mary, In bakery shops that sell circles or squares for putting fancy cakes on. Just saying as that's what I use. Regards Karen
    23rd May 2019
    Mary, go to your local stationery store, newsagent or even Officeworks. It's cheaper than purchasing small ones at a bakery shop.

    When you're measuring up the section of your wallet, or passport holder, do inside measurements. Cut to suit. Place the card inside the wallet with the silver side facing down (you see the white side of the card inside so that the silver side is facing out when the wallet is closed).

    Sorry It's so long since I posted my original post, but I wasn't advised of the additional post. Have a great day :)
    moama jock
    30th Jan 2018

    Yes great idea where did you get the silver cardboard
    23rd May 2019
    See my reply above :)
    30th Jan 2018
    You can buy packs of 10 to 20 of the RFID card protectors that also come with 2 to 4 passport protectors which are also essential now that passports have RFID chips in them too. On Ebay they cost $5 to $10 for the whole package, whereas shops can charge up to $5 just for 1 protector. I have been using for quite some time, and they definitely work as I have tried making a payment with my card in the RFID folder against the card reader and it can't be read until you take it out. They are very robust and last a long time.
    23rd May 2019
    Far too expensive. You can purchase a sheet of silver cardboard for just about the same price and it does plenty of wallets or passport holders. See my post above :)
    30th Jan 2018
    You can purchase these from Strand bags for next to nothing.

    30th Jan 2018
    It seems that most people are aware of the skimming problem judging by the responses. Thanks to all who have given suggestions as to where we can source replacement wallets and how much we should pay for them. Whilst banks will reimburse fraudulent misuse of funds, that's small comfort if one happens to be in a country where English is rarely spoken and the credit card is maxed and the bank account is empty.
    30th Jan 2018
    My opinion of these RFID blocking devices is that they are totally ineffective, similar to placing aluminium foil on your head to protect your brain against RF radiation. That is why they are only available on-line and are 'not available in stores'. Try an experiment, next time you use paywave (or your Opal or MyKi card) hold it about 5 cm from the reader and see if it works, it probably won't. To work these RFID chips must be almost in physical . contact to the reader. Those TV ads showing how a card can be skimmed from many nmetres awaymay look gfood but they are not necessarily real.
    30th Jan 2018
    Eddy, you are spot on.
    If it was really possible to do, the banks would provide those so called wallets for nothing.

    1st Feb 2018
    Simplest solution: avoid this technology and PAY CASH.
    23rd May 2019
    You still have to go to the ATM to get your cash out. Therefore you'll still need to have a card. Most have chips in them these days, and that's what is skimmed.

    95+% of employers and the government pay your income into a bank account, so there's no getting away without having to have a card on you.

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