The right passport cover could protect your privacy

Banu Ibrahim
February 20, 2018

Story highlights

  • RFID passport covers are aimed to protect your information against RFID skimming.
  • For travelers who want extra peace of mind, these are top RFID passport covers to shop.

Of all the things you take on international trips, the ones that most deserve extra care and attention are your passport and credit cards.

Basic passport covers with credit card slots help keep you organized at the airport and give your belongings an added layer of protection against spills and tears.

Recently, however, these passport cover and wallet hybrids have been designed to also keep identity theft at bay. The new age of pickpocketing doesn't involve reaching into someone's back pocket or bag, but simply passing by with a handheld RFID reader.

RFID, or radio-frequency identification, uses electromagnetic fields to identify and track objects. Many common identification items you carry on a day-to-day basis (think credit cards, some driver's licenses and your passport) include information-packed microchips. An RFID reader can skim your information on those microchips from several feet away. It's why a number of companies have introduced RFID-blocking passport holders and wallets. These are covers made of a radio wave-blocking material (usually nylon) to keep your travel documents safe.

Credit cards appear to be the most vulnerable to RFID skimming, with some demonstrations showing how whole credit card numbers can be collected from people at a distance. In the case of a passport, RFID skimming likely won't give outsiders much more than the most basic information, like your name and country of origin. But if you're uneasy with anyone knowing that, it might be worth it to invest in a more protective case.

And if you use the case to carry credit cards along with your passport, it could protect other sensitive info from RFID snooping.

Hey, better safe than sorry.

For travelers who want some extra peace of mind while on the move, we've rounded up some RFID-blocking passport covers. These picks have earned at least a 4-star review from Amazon customers who have put them through the wringer.

Note: The prices below reflect the retailer's listed price at the time of publication.

Travelambo RFID Blocking Passport Holder Wallet ($13.99; amazon.com)

Fossil RFID Passport Wallet Case ($55; amazon.com)

Lodis Stephanie RFID Under Lock and Key Passport Wallet ($45.99; amazon.com)

Travelambo RFID Blocking Genuine Leather Passport Holder ($9.99; amazon.com)

GDTK Leather Passport Holder Cover ($7.99; amazon.com)

Zoppen Unisex RFID Blocking Travel Passport Holder ($10.99; amazon.com)

Zero Grid Travel Wallet & Family Passport Holder ($31.83; amazon.com)