Monday, August 20, 2012

Altoids Tin For Your Next Wallet?

They're Iconic. 
They smell good.
They are durable.
They're common place enough to be ignored.

Yes, it's an Altoids tin.  

People do all sorts of things with them.  They are a great case for electronic projects.  They're storing my little screwdrivers.  They stored my Lottery tickets for a while until the Powerball got greedy and raised the price.  I felt stupid throwing away $40 a month on tickets for the "Math Tax".

Now I've heard a new use for the thing - as a wallet.

Ok, sure, it sounds kind of low rent, but it offers an interesting benefit.  They will shield your credit cards from being read by RFID readers.  

I'm not a fan of RFID.  The chips work a bit too well.  It is a little electronic chip that sits inside credit cards and ATM cards that you waggle in front of a reader and under normal conditions can only be read within a few feet.

That's Normal Conditions.   Since RFID is protecting your credit limit on the credit card I feel safer without it.

Sure, this is "Tinfoil Hat Territory" but if I get a card with a chip in it, I immediately contact the vendor for a chipless card.  The old school magnetic stripe is good enough for me. 

If I can't get the new card, I find where the little square chip is in the card, then hit the chip with a hammer and a "punch".   Electronics can be fragile and that "disables" the chip so I can be completely comfortable.

I tried it out with a card that I did not activate because it has a chip in it and it fit easily inside of an Altoids tin leaving room for some (*GASP*) cash and other things I may find I need.  Like in this Lifehacker article, you even may have room for a memory stick, and you can keep a mugger wallet in case you are in a questionable neighborhood.

You know, a couple bucks and some old spent gift cards kept as a decoy.

I'm just amused enough at this little hack to consider it.  The little tins are just "too nice to throw away" and I have a few here.

Or just stuff your cash in your sock.  I won't tell.

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