How to Disable Credit Card RFID

I have an American Express Blue card which includes an RFID chip (because waving your card is so much easier than swiping it.) Unfortunately, if you have one of these (or a credit card with PayPass) your card is vulnerable.

Fortunately, it’s easy to disable the RFID chip in your credit card. Here’s what I do:

  1. Locate the chip – this is easy with my card since it is transparent and I can see the chip. If your card isn’t transparent, the chip can be located by finding a slight divot in the plastic (usually on the back.)
  2. Stab the chip a few times with a sharp object – I use my trusty Leatherman Super Tool, but any sharp object will do. I stab from the back of the card because there’s less plastic to go through to get to it. As you stab the chip, you’ll feel some crunching or grinding. If you don’t then you probably missed the chip.
  3. Now you can walk around confident your credit card information can’t be read over the air by some nefarious evil doer.

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One more reason I love American Express

There are many reasons I love American Express. Here’s one more. I was greeted with this email yesterday:
“At American Express, the security of your account is of the utmost importance. In an effort to protect and serve our Cardmembers, we consistently monitor accounts for possible fraudulent activity. Occasionally, we find it necessary to contact our customers to verify certain charges.
(Transaction amount and vendor name were listed)
In order to verify that these charges are legitimate, we ask that you please have your American Express Card available and call the American Express Account Security Group as soon as possible at 1-800-824-9289. Representatives are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week to assist you.
You may also call the number on the back of your card and when prompted by our system, please enter your 15 digit American Express Card number. This will automatically transfer you to our Account Security Group.”

Being the untrusting/paranoid person that I am, I called the number on the back of my card (I rarely trust anything I get like this through email or a phone call.) I called and verified that the transaction was indeed fraudulent. They are always nothing but professional on the phone. Upon verification, they canceled the card and I should be getting a new one in the next few days. Aside from getting Cash back (I have a Blue Cash card) they’re on the lookout for the bad guys. Now, I’m curious about from where my credit card info leaked. I charge so many things to it that I’ll probably never know.

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