Forget about wallets that protect your contactless credit and debit cards. San Francisco "Internet clothing company" Betabrand says it has a better solution: $168 men's jeans and a $195 women's blazer that come with pockets specifically tailored to block radio waves from the NFC chips in payment cards and mobile phones, according to The Verge.
The 2007 startup has partnered with Symantec's Norton Security group to certify that the pants and jacket can block attackers from surreptitiously scanning cards and phones to steal information. The items are expected to be available in February, but they're currently being sold on a crowdfunded basis until early January.
According to Betabrand, "More than 10 million identities are digitally pickpocketed every year, and these devices are among the most common tools criminals use. It's estimated that by 2015, more than 70 percent of all credit cards will be vulnerable to such attacks." The company doesn't say where those estimates come from; U.S. banks have been progressively removing contactless capabilities from their payment cards for years, in part because adoption on contactless point-of-sale devices by merchants stalled several years ago at about 220,000, according to MasterCard.
There's another potential downside to radio-proof pockets in jeans or a blazer: The RF-blocking materials will also block signals to and from mobile-phone towers. Any wearers will have to remember to put the wallet in the shielded pocket (two are built into the jeans, just one in the blazer), but not the phone.