Why You Need Not Fear RFID

Fried $20 billsIf ever a technology needed a reputation management specialist, RFID, or radio frequency identification, is it.

RFID just can’t seem to shake its bad rap. It has been linked to conspiracy theories tinged by religious extremism. It’s spawned the hilarious trend of people cooking perfectly good $20 bills in microwave ovens to supposedly disable the RFID chips that the government allegedly is using to track you.   (CLARIFICATION:  there are no RFID chips in currency — the conspiracy theorists just think there are.  That’s what so hilarious.)

Tinfoil hat anyone?

What most people don’t realize is that millions of consumers use RFID each day.  RFID enriches our lives, offers us convenience, and makes us safer.  If you’ve ever used the EZPass toll payment system to breeze the through the fast lane, you’ve used RFID.  If you’ve ever had your pet tagged with an identification chip, you’ve used RFID.  And if you’ve used one of the swipeless credit cards or a Mobil SpeedPass payment fob at the gas pump, you’ve used RFID.

Yet fear persists. To understand why you need not fear RFID, read my latest article: The Technology Everyone Loves to Hate – RFID


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.

15 Reactions
  1. You provided a lot of information I was unaware of. It is interesting how people fear this type of technology when it has so many benefits also.

  2. Anita,

    Simply Amazing.

    I had no idea that money contained RFID. I think it’s no big deal really. Anyone who would torch perfectly good Jacksons’ to “stick it to the man” may be a tad bit paranoid, or simply up to no good.


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  3. why only $20 bills?

    anyhow, I read and I think this is true, that Hong Kong airport puts RFID tags on all luggages.

    That way, when ever you pass by Hong kong, they can have a database.

    That actually enables them to tag which luggages have passed by Hongkong how many times…. and I think if they want, they can immediately trace the owner…

    I think they can also know whether it is tagged to the same owner everytime….

    Maybe seriously if all other airports use RFID, they don’t even have to tag a bag everytime you check in anymore….

  4. Well, Donna, actually $20 bills do NOT have RFID chips in them — the conspiracy theorists just think they do.

    I think it’s pretty hilarious that people are actually destroying perfectly good money in some misguided attempt to disable chips that don’t even exist.

    Now, passports DO in fact have RFID chips — at least the new ones. But governments already track cross-border travel so what difference does that make, I say.

    But currency does not contain RFID chips, at least not American currency.

  5. A point of clarification: No one can use RFID tags to track anything for more than 20 feet or so. That is the range of the scanners that sense RIFD tags. So, RFID makes a lot of sense in a factory, or in a warehouse, or even a retail store, where companies need to keep track of where things are. Theoretically, if you buy a box of detergent with a tag in it, sensors could follow it around the store, but once you’re outside, such tracking would, for all practical purposes, be impossible.
    The airport scenario is certainly credible, however.
    Mike Stevens
    Manufacturing Editor

  6. I have heard the many bad raps about RFID and sorry to say that I pretty much thought some truth could be there, but after reading your article Anita I feel sort of foolish buying all the bad raps, especially after finding out that I was using RFID with my EZPass and I use it often. Thanks Again!

  7. When I first heard about this topic, it did cross my mind that this technology may have it’s down sides. However, a lot of the myth has been debunked here in this article and I feel much better about it now. But since this technology does exist, I imagine someone will figure out how to use if for nefarious purposes – if they haven’t already – although I hope that doesn’t become the case.

  8. Martin Lindeskog

    RFID technology is great development in tracking goods. The question is: How costly is it to install and implement this kind of tracking system?

  9. I’m still weary of RFID in my credit cards and passports. I use MasterCard’s PayPass card and it’s great but for an added level of protection I bought an RFID Blockr shielded wallet from:


    They also carry very nice passport cases. They use copper wire mesh sewn into the lining. I know that DIFRWEAR uses tinfoil in their wallets…but I don’t think they sell tin-foil hats 😉

  10. Just curious as to how much the government payed you to write this one up??? Or if you actually believe there is NO way this technology could be used for pure EVIL. I’ll quote exactly out of your words

    “RFID saves lives when used in hospitals to keep track of infants, life-saving equipment and medical instruments. It can help us recover our pets if they are lost. Farmers use it to keep track of livestock. And it makes our lives more convenient in many daily uses — everything from allowing us to use the fast lane on toll roads, to electronic security badges to enter and protect buildings.”

    POINT in case. This CAN be used for tracking. How convenient we can ‘cruise’ through the fast lane without having to stop, and because of RFID we have paid our toll. So to believe that this technology CANNOT or WOULD NOT be used in this manner I find to be VERY naive! Do you SERIOUSLY think they would implant RFID in infants so they aren’t “LOST”, or as you put it “kept track of”? HIGHLY doubtful!! Because THEY KNOW that any adult that has a little common sense would REJECT having such said device planted in their bodies! I understand RFID is already in use in certain things as you state, and that there are (at least for the TIME BEING) restrictions on distance to be able to “read” an RFID, but that does not mean that they wont have readers all over the place for tracking US, and do you REALLY think they would TELL us ? !!! Come on, wake up and smell the coffee!
    You mention GPS, and you are wrong if you think I don’t question or object to this as well. I do NOT own a navigation system, or a cell phone capable of GPS. I have been against GPS since it has seemed to evolved.
    It’s people like you that call me paranoid, and you probably think I am one of these (as you would label me) “conspiracy nuts”. Well you can think whatever you desire, seeing as everyone IS entitled to their own opinion.
    one more thing, do you REALLY think all the cameras the government and the cities are putting up are to “lower crime” or “cite people blowing red lights” or whatever BS reason they ‘shell out to us’ is true too? Doubtful, just another potential way to track us!

    Go ahead and believe all these things (and many more) are just going to make the world a “nice place” to live in, with all this safety, and convenience. Call me a conspiracy theorist if you desire. Do you really think that, if the governments final plan WAS to have us all be their “good little guinea pigs” they would just come out and announce it??? HECK NO! They would EASE us into it. So I will say that you are also entitled the right to go on thinking this will all just make the world a nice safe convenient place to live, but I personally do find it hard to believe there isn’t potentially a higher darker motive when you add up the entire scenario. All I have left to say is at least I consider *ALL* viable options and look at both sides of the fence, and we should (I will) continue to watch for other telltale signs of any such evil plots! At least this way if the $%^t hits the fan you will be too busy being shocked while I will actually be doing something about it!

    BTW what about eye scanning devices, how do you feel on these, granted I know they have not YET been implemented anywhere that I know of… Or how about YOU, YOURSELF getting an RFID implant??? Would you be willing to get an RFID implant???

  11. Hi r@zer,

    You’re certainly entitled to your opinion. That’s what makes free countries such wonderful places to live.

    I am going to respond only to prevent misinformation on one point.

    To answer your question, no I absolutely would not want an RFID chip embedded into my body. But the point is, no one is requiring me to do that.

    The only people embedding chips into human beings are those who perform self-surgery and embed the chips as part of an experiment so they can write about it on their blogs, or a few isolated cases when adults have voluntarily submitted to the procedure for security reasons.

    No one is forcing chips to be inserted into infants or patients. They put a chip into a plastic wristband, not into the person’s body. Infants and hospital patients already wear plastic wristbands for identification purposes in hospitals, but instead of a bar code or printed information, there would also be an RFID chip in the wristband. When the infant or patient leaves the hospital, they take off the wristband and thus stop wearing the RFID tag.


  12. uh, ok folks.

    Many here are flat out lying.

    Myth – no one THINKS that there is FRID in money thus no one is destroying it for that reason.

    Fact – RFID CAUSES CANCER in lab ANIMIALS. So if you want to get a tumor, place them in you.

    fact – gov wants to track you. period. ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS, ALL YOUR TRANSACTIONS, EVERY STEP YOU TAKE.


    DONT LET THEM. If you do, youre FN STUPID!

    MYTH – RFID makes you more SAFE. Lie. false, not true.

    FACT – RFID can EASILY BE HACKED. EASILY. ID THEFT will ERUPT when this RFID is used more. YOU WATCH.

    FACT – many conspiracy theorists are dabling in truth and facts and and only a SMALL HANDFUL ARE NUTS.

  13. fact – no one is forcing to place a chi in our body.

    fact – they are TRYING reallyhard to FORCE ALL items, even animals and plants to be required to have an RFID either implanted or tagged. thus, you wont be able to BUY OR SELL anything without the chip.

    FACT – if we dont protest now they WILL force us all to get them implanted. bye by privacy, period.

  14. WAKE UP…Sure its not as people fear now…but this is how it starts. Don’t you see, it’s gradual, because any abrupt changes to our lives would be rejected. The powers that be KNOW THIS. Gradually, it will be implemented in more and more things. Then, an increase in scare tactics of terrorism and identity theft will come about. Soon after, there would only be one logical explaination to end all this….implant the darn chip in your body. Doen’t the sheer thought if this being possible bother you enough to NOT allow this technology to take hold in our society? Are we that dumb to NOT see the potential desaster here? We joke about conspirasy theory’s and that’s all fine and good, but what if it’s true? Just, what if? Then…we won’t be laughing anymore.