How to disable the RFID chip in your credit cards

If you have a credit card, you could potentially be at risk.  Since about 2005, RFID enabled credit cards such as Mastercard’s Paypass and American Express’ ExpressPay was introduced.  Some credit card companies allowed customers to have the option of having a non-RFID enabled card, but many companies simply sent their customers an RFID enabled card along with a notice that their old card will cease to function in about 30 days with no option of opting out of the new cards.  Convenience was the key reason credit cards use this technology, but is it safe?  Since I am writing about how to disable RFID chips, the answer is obviously NO.  Someone could easily buy an RFID reader off eBay for about $20, plug it to a laptop and walk around stealing your credit card information.  All they need to do is walk close enough to you to read the cards in your wallet.

If you do not want to be a victim of credit card theft via RFID and your credit card company refuses to issue you cards without the PayPass or ExpressPay option, you have a few options:

Option 1: Break your RFID chip using blunt force.

Reflect light off the surface of your card to locate the RFID chip.  There should be a small rectangular indent where the chip is located.  Once you found the chip, hammer that chip using a ball-peen hammer OR place a square-head screwdriver over the chip and hammer the screwdriver.  The impact will break the chip rendering it useless to readers.

Option 2: Remove your RFID chip via surgery.

Locate your RFID chip and cut it out using your choice of sharp objects.  Shawn chose to use an exacto-knife.  Be careful not to accidentally remove your fingers while you are at it!

If you have one of those credit cards that come with a security pin chip, then you are out of luck for disabling the chip without breaking your card.  For those cards, the RFID chip hides behind the security pin chip.

For the sake of satisfying our curiosity, we sacrificed a perfectly good card.

Unless you are able to cut the back of the card and remove RFID chip without touching the security pin chip, this method WILL break your card, so do so at your own discretion.

Option 3: Short circuit the RFID chip via radiation.

I’ve read on the internet that some people were able to short circuit the RFID chip by microwaving their credit card for one to two seconds.  I have a feeling that the microwave would be able to break your card’s magnetic strip and security pin chip as well, so do this one at your own discretion.

There are also RFID chips inside passports, but I think you might get in trouble for tampering with those…


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