Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Fri April 29 2016

Opinion Home | Far-Sighted Field Notes

  • Rosalind Cummings-Yeates | April 29, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Concerned About Skimming? There’s a Wallet for That.

    Concerned About Skimming? There’s a Wallet for That.

    Photo via Twitter/HuMnWallet

    Besides TSA hassles, delayed flights and the overall discomfort of flying, another hazard of travel is trying to avoid theft. There’s nothing more harrowing than having your wallet stolen in another country, but credit card and ID skimming is the ultimate horror. Using a special scanner, thieves can lift important info from your cards and passport without even touching your wallet or purse. Then you’re left to navigate a foreign legal system trying to retrieve your info. Electronic pickpocketing or RFID skimming can happen anywhere but it’s really messy when you’re traveling.

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    So I was particularly interested when I was contacted about using a special travel wallet that blocks skimming. It doesn’t look like a wallet. In fact, when the publicist for HuMn Wallets sent me two, thin aluminum cards for review, I thought she had mistakenly sent the packaging without the wallet.

    But no, HuMn wallets are really just two thin aluminum cards held together with an elastic band or shock strap. It’s billed as “the most versatile RFID wallet in the world,” but I couldn't figure out how these pieces were supposed to form a secure wallet so I watched the videos on the company's website. (Never thought I'd have to watch an instructional video on how to use a wallet but hey, we are in the digital age).

    The creators are travelers who wanted a lightweight wallet that wouldn't bulge when filled with cards and would protect from RFID skimming. They came up with a sleek design that blocks RFID scanners and can be customized with different aluminum and band colors. Cool. So how does it hold up while traveling? I tucked the wallet into my travel arsenal for Jamaica to find out. (Turns out, my bank refused to cover any credit card scams because skimming is so rampant here. They actually used the words, “you’re on your own.”)

    It was really helpful to be able to separate my Jamaican dollars from my American bucks. I put the different currency on opposite sides of the card. I stuffed my credit card and ID inside the band and I pushed my business cards in a corner on the outside. Everything was orderly and clearly visible with no bulge.

    The issue came when I tried to quickly retrieve anything. The bands are industrial strength and not easy to stretch. I felt like I had to strengthen my fingers before I could ever hope to pull out my cash or cards in under a minute. I also missed a compartment for coins but I think this is a woman thing. Guys don't like to keep change jangling in their pockets (I polled them) whereas women have lots of nooks and crannies for this in their purses.

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    In fact, all the guys on my trip went gaga over this stylish wallet, sliding it in and out of their pockets. The wallet was started by two guys who wanted to avoid FWS or Fat Wallet Syndrome, so it makes sense. The prices originally started at $75 for the HuMn mini, which I thought was a little steep but works out reasonably when you factor in how long aluminum holds up compared to leather. Now the prices have gone down to as low as $24 and up to $59, which I think is more reasonable. Replacing the shock straps only costs $12. All in all, I think HuMn wallets make great travel wallets, especially with the identity protection but I believe it's more appealing to men over women. What do you think?


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Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Far-Sighted Field Notes

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates Rosalind Cummings-Yeates is a journalist, author and blogger who specializes in travel and culture topics. She loves guiding readers through the richness of various cultures and discovering the essence of a destination. Her travel and culture blog, Farsighted Fly Girl, offers travel insights through the music, food, art and history of various countries and cultures. Join her on the journey at www.Rosalindcummingsyeates.
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