Do You Really Need an RFID-Blocking Wallet? Answers to questions rfid companies to invest in journeys far and near.

But do you really need one? Wallet choices used to be simple. You could get a bifold, a trifold, or a clutch. Flip through Sky Mall on your next flight, though, and you’ll find a new and potentially confusing option: RFID blocking. Will Oremus is Slate’s senior technology writer.

They might do their job, at least to some extent, under certain theoretical circumstances. But that doesn’t mean you need one. RFID-blocking wallets are designed to help insulate you from a very particular brand of electronic pickpocketing, called RFID skimming. The concern is that some credit cards, passports, and driver’s licenses now come with embedded radio frequency identification chips. When activated by an RFID reader, these chips transmit certain types of information wirelessly, so that you can verify your identity or even make a purchase without swiping your card.