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Radley Stories

Style Notes

What Are RFID Blocking Wallets? A Complete Guide To The Best Types of Wallets

16 November 2023

If you’ve ever wondered ‘what are RFID blocking wallets made of?’ you’re in the right place. As a trendy wallets brand (with a beautiful range of expertly crafted handbags too), we have the answer to this question and more in this complete wallets guide. Find out all you need to know, including what styles make the best fashion travel wallets and discover what the best high fashion wallets in style are this year. 

Trendy Wallets

One of the most essential accessories for a man or woman. A wallet provides a way to carry credit cards, bank notes and loose change. Traditionally, wallets are made using leather which is made to last (that’s especially true of our gold-standard leather). But some wallets may be made using other materials, such as nylon, denim or faux leather PU. (Find out all about faux leather vs. real leather in our guide.)

Here in the UK, we use the term wallet to describe the accessory used by a man, while purse is the name given to those used by women. However, for our American friends and colleagues on the other side of the Atlantic, it’s common to use the word wallet for both men’s and women’s styles. This could be because in the USA, a purse is used to describe a handbag instead.

Even if you call it the same name, there are often clear differences between wallets designed for men and those designed for women. For example, a men’s wallet is typically a bifold, pocket-sized accessory, whereas women’s wallets come in many sizes – from a super spacious zip-around or flapover continental large matinee to a mini coin purse or cardholder. Take a look at our trendy designer purses guide for more information about these women’s accessories.


Types of Wallets in History

A very long time before the trendy wallet brands of today were created, somewhere around the 17th century, coins were the only method of payment that needed to be carried. To do so, people used a small fabric pouch, which could be considered the earliest type of wallet in style. This would be tied around the waist and concealed beneath clothing in order to hide it from thieves.

It’s thought that the creation of paper notesin the 1600s led to the invention of flat wallets, a style very similar to those we use today. They were rectangular, with a flap and fastening and were most commonly carried by men. As well as coins and paper notes, these first wallets were also used to carry a few other items, including tobacco and small pieces of food.

As time went on, it became the norm to attach wallets to belts, not only as a way to show off a person’s wealth, but also as it was thought to be uncivilised and even feminine to carry wallets in pockets at the time.

Then, when credit cards were invented in the 1950s, wallets began to change again. People were carrying less coins, and there was growing demand for types of wallets with more slots. In response, bifold, high fashion wallets emerged and they’re still the most popular, fashionable wallet in style today.

However, early versions were slightly different as they were commonly be crafted in nylon with a Velcro fastening. These styles still exist today, but often belong to younger adults or children so are not one of the top wallets in style. In contrast, more modern, mature, trendy wallets will often be made using leather instead. This is a much more durable material than fabric alternatives as it lasts longer and is easier to keep clean (an important benefit for an accessory you handle and use every day).

Modern Fashionable Wallets

Wallets are an essential item carried by nearly every man and woman and, just like any other accessory, they have adapted to changing technologies and trends. Two of the most popular types of wallets for women are fashion travel wallets and RFID blocking purses and wallets.

We are also seeing a growing trend for mobile phone cross body bags for ladies. This trendy wallet style sits somewhere between a handbag and a purse, as it’s compact with enough space for your phone and a few cards. You can find out more about these designs, including the benefits of a phone pouch in our Radley Stories guide.

If you’re in the market for any of these, you will find that most high fashion wallets brands will have their own versions. 


What are RFID Blocking Purses and Wallets?

Due to the increase in contactless payments, wallet technology has improved. There are now many types of wallets and purses on sale from trendy wallets brands, that are RFID blocking (including some of our own Radley London purses and wallets).

So what is RFID and what are RFID blocking wallets made of? Let’s start at the beginning. RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification. Certain cards have these RFID chips in order to transmit information wirelessly during transactions. 

RFID blocking is designed to protect against electronic pickpocketing – the practice of discreetly scanning contactless cards and reading their data without the owner’s knowledge. In some cases, it can take place by using an RFID reader from a few feet away. However, it has been found that the risk of crimes of this nature are rare.

If you are worried, RFID blocking purses and wallets are designed to prevent signals transmitting between your cards and RFID scanners. If you’ve ever wondered “what are RFID blocking wallets are made of”, the answer is different types of metal. This might be aluminium, copper or something else. These materials are often discreetly included in the design of your trendy wallet in order to block the electromagnetic field. This will prevent the information on your cards being scanned and stolen while they’re in your purse or wallet.


What is a Fashion Travel Wallet?

A coveted type of wallet, a fashion travel wallet has lots of slots and pockets for your travel essentials, including a passport, tickets, travel cards and currency. One of the reasons why these travel purses are so popular is because they keep all of your essentials together so you can have a stress-free trip through the airport or station. (That means no more searching for each individual item inside your spacious designer suitcase or ladies' weekend holdall bags.)

Fashion travel wallets are always becoming more and more popular as people continue to embark on more international travel. If this is you, make sure you’re fully prepared for your trip with all the necessary travel accessories and make sure to research what suitcase best suits your needs with our Luggage Guide.


Different Types of Wallets

As a trendy wallets brand, we know all about the different wallets in style. And this wouldn’t be a guide to fashionable wallets if we didn’t tell you all about them. If you’re in the market for a new one, this is where you can find out which one will be the best fit for you.

Bifold Wallet

One of the most common styles. A bifold wallet will fold in half like a book and have a single fastening, or it may not have one at all. It’s a typical high fashion wallet that you can shop from most trendy wallet brands.


Trifold Wallet

A trifold wallet will have two folding sides and often a press stud fastening or strip of Velcro to hold it together. It may be slightly bulkier than the typical bifold wallet.


Zipped Wallet

The most secure type of wallet and a common high fashion wallet. These come with a zip that fastens to keep everything securely tucked away. Similarly, certain types of folding or flapover wallets may also have a small, zipped pocket that is used for storing loose change.  


Velcro Wallet

An older style of wallet, which is still around today. These Velcro styles are often chosen for children as their first wallet, as it’s easy for them to open and access, while also keeping their money safely secured inside.


RFID Blocking Purses and Wallets

These wallets could also fall into the other categories, such as a trifold or bifold wallet, as any style could have RFID blocking technology. The purpose of RFID blocking is to prevent e-pickpocketing crimes committed by reading information from your credit cards without a person’s knowledge. If you’re missed the answer to ‘what are RFID blocking wallets made of’, then take a look at the sections above.


Leather Wallet

You will notice that almost all high fashion wallets are crafted in leather (just like ours). You can read all about how we choose our leather over on our Matching Materials page, or find out more about Where Leather Comes From in our guide. Reasons for choosing leather is due to the way it holds its shape, even with constant use. It stands the test of time and is very easy to keep clean, so long as you follow the right leather care guidelines. This benefit is one of the reasons why they’re one of most fashionable wallets.


Travel Wallet

With space for travel documents, tickets, currency and even your passport, travel wallets are becoming more and more popular. They help you to keep your travel essentials all in one place and are easy to find while rushing through airports or stations.



One of the types of wallets that are becoming more and more popular. Thanks to advanced technology, people no longer need to carry cash and coins, which is where the cardholder comes in. A popular alternative to modern fashionable wallets. These compact accessories are designed to hold credit cards and ID cards only. Offering practicality without the bulk. 



Now you’re ready to start the quiz all about wallets. Just kidding. Instead, how about topping up your knowledge on more of our products? Check out the Different Types of Boots, or Backpacks In Fashion blogs over on Radley Stories. Or if you’re hoping to shop from our New In collection, make sure you have a read of our Handbag Buying Guide first.