Travel Gear

What is RFID Blocking? RFID Technology Explained

RFID is a hot topic in both the travel industry and the bag world, so we get asked about it quite a bit. When you browse Sherpani travel bags, you’ll see RFID protection listed as a feature again and again.

But what actually is RFID?

Today, we'll go back to basics and explain what RFID is, how it works, and the potential consequences of this unavoidable tech. Let’s dive in!

RFID, or “radio frequency identification,” is a technology that transmits information without manual entry. RFID is used throughout many industries to streamline processes. The revolutionary “tap-to-pay” method that has become so popular for transactions is a prime example of RFID. 

A customer making a transaction with contactless payment

RFID is also how your information pops up on the screen after a customs worker scans your passport. In terms of scanning, RFID functions similarly to a bar code or QR code. The difference is while those technologies transmit information by reading a picture, RFID shares information through radio waves.

To understand the prevalence of RFID, it’s helpful to know how it works.

RFID technology is a contactless way to share information, requiring two parts: an RFID tag and an RFID reader. RFID tags are found everywhere! From packaging to clothing to the credit cards in your wallet, these tags store the information of the objects they represent (i.e. your credit card number). RFID readers can scan and interpret the information stored on the tags.

A customer at a cafe inserting her card into a credit card machine

The tricky part is that any RFID reader can access the information on any RFID tag, so long as it's in close enough range. So theoretically, someone with an RFID reader could access your credit card information without ever coming into contact with the card itself.

This is where the worry lies: RFID tags can be conducive to cyber theft.

Unfortunately, the sophisticated thieves of the world take advantage of the widespread RFID technology. This explains the time your friend’s credit card number was compromised even though it never left her purse. Remember that your credit card isn’t the only important item with an RFID tag carrying sensitive information; there's likely one inside your car key fob, and your passport has one, too!

A passport sitting on top of the world map

It’s scary, we know. But stick with us! There’s a simple solution to prevent this.

This is where RFID blocking comes into play.

The radio waves used in RFID can only pass through nonconducting materials such as wood, brick, concrete and fabric. They cannot pass through electrical conductors, such as water or metal. Blocking these radio waves is the key to stopping cyber theft. All you have to do is make sure there’s an appropriate barrier between your RFID tags (credit cards and passport) and the potential RFID reader in the jacket pocket of the hacker standing close by.

This is where we come in!
A woman standing on an outdoor balcony. She is wearing Sherpani sling backpack, the Esprit

Most Sherpani bags include RFID-blocking technology to safeguard the information carried on your RFID tags. We achieve this by including a thin metallic sheet material in our designs to block the radio waves.

Every bag in our Essentials Collection is equipped with RFID-blocking technology.

Every bag in our Anti-Theft Collection is equipped with RFID-blocking technology (plus more features to guard against other types of theft!).

In Sherpani bags, the RFID blocking runs along the front panel of each design. When you’re wearing a backpack or a crossbody, the back side of your bag sits against your person, so there’s no reason to add RFID blocking to that side. The exception is one of our favorite styles, the Vale, which features a reversible design so is built with RFID blocking on both sides.

A woman standing in front of a colorful wall. She is carrying Sherpani reversible travel bag, the Vale

More RFID protection from Sherpani:

Sherpani wallets are also equipped with RFID-blocking technology. The Barcelona is a small-sized wallet perfect for minimalist travel, and the Tulum is a larger-sized RFID wallet complete with a wristlet strap. Our wallets help you stay organized and protected.

Recently, we released two more travel accessories equipped with RFID blocking:

Check out our new RFID Blocking Credit Card Sleeve Set:

The RFID Blocking Credit Card Sleeve Set, by Sherpani

Check out our new RFID Blocking Passport Sleeve:

The RFID Blocking Passport Sleeve, by Sherpani

Pro Tip: When you're not traveling, use the Passport Sleeve as a holder for your car keys. Especially if you hang your keys by your front door, where someone could scan for their RFID tag from the other side.

Before we go, there is one more FAQ about RFID that we feel we need to address…

Is RFID blocking really necessary?

We get this question a lot, and there is seemingly some debate on the topic throughout the travel world. Now that you know how it works, however, we hope you’re feeling confident enough to answer this question for yourself.

The facts of the matter are that the everyday, we use items like credit cards that have RFID tags. Cyber theft is therefore a potential threat, especially to those who travel often, because all it requires is an RFID reader. Carrying a bag that has RFID blocking will negate this threat, which means one less thing to worry about while you’re out there exploring.

We believe that women deserve to travel with peace of mind. It's why we do what we do! We are proud to cultivate a deeper sense of security among female travelers by providing them with RFID wallets, bags and other travel accessories so that they can explore the world with confidence.

So, let us worry about the technicalities of theft prevention. Travel with Sherpani so that you can turn your attention to what matters most: your life-changing adventures.

Shop all Sherpani travel bags!

Discover more from the Sherpani Travel Blog:
A woman standing on top of a large hill, surrounded by waterfalls

Want to learn more about our company? Read How Sherpani Bags Reduce Ocean Plastic

For more on travel safety, try Solo Travel Safety, By Women for Women

How about a travel story? Read Old Friend New Adventure: Peru & Machu Picchu 

By women for women, the Sherpani Travel Blog talks about all things travel. With a new post every week on Travel Tuesdayour blog is the go-to place for unique travel guidesgeneral travel tipspersonal travel stories from women in our community, and more!

Reading next

Giving Tuesday: Travel Acts of Kindness
Sherpani Travel: The Best Thing You'll Do in Ho Chi Minh City

1 comment

Elizabeth W Dumdey-Bartelsen

Elizabeth W Dumdey-Bartelsen

Thank you!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.