I’m not a fan of most wallets: they’re bulky, can’t handle rough wear, and add too much weight to my pocket. So I was excited to be given a HuMn2 wallet to test out during my trip to Scandinavia, one of the most minimalist wallets on the market.
Traveling is always a hassle on it’s own, but the newest wave of identity and credit card-skimming theft has left those of us who would rather not carry loads of cash at minimum annoyed, if not a tad worried. Studies have shown that cheap, portable scanners can swipe your card information in a matter of seconds, leaving little old ladies to line their purses with aluminum foil, or at least carry a piece of it in their wallets, with hopes that this alone will be enough to stop thieves in their tracks.
The idea is simple: take two RFID-blocking pieces of aluminum or carbon fiber, hold them together with a band, and call it a wallet. I got the carbon fiber model and then spent a month using it, both regularly and abroad. It’s sturdy, certainly feels like it would block RFID scanning without a fuss, and holds everything together. Also, since it’s carbon-fiber, I didn’t have to worry about it getting wet or dirty while I was outdoors – I could just brush it dry.
And for people who don’t need very many cards in their wallet, it’s a snap to use. I keep about 6-8 cards in my wallet, and used four cards regularly during the trip. If I needed the first or last card, I could stick it out above the others, making it easy to reach. If I needed something in the middle, I’d have to open the wallet. And this was where I had some issues.
First, you can get pinched by the wallet if one hand is cradling the HuMn while you’re trying to open it with your thumbs. Second, the cards bunch together when you open it up, so if they’re not stacked to be easily read, or there are a lot of cards, you have to take the whole wallet apart and search all your cards. (I did that way more often than I’d like to admit.) I also found this got harder as I added more cards to the wallet, making me want to minimize the collection rather than maximize my own convenience.
There are videos on how to use the wallet, and even after watching them, just in case I was doing something wrong, I saw no difference in these issues. On top of that, adding money to the outside, like you’re supposed to, sometimes made it harder to open. I think a lot of this is fixable just by adding a hinge of some form on one long end of the wallet, but that would sacrifice the customizable appeal of the HuMn.
After the test, I switched back to another slim wallet made in a more traditional style, and found myself itching for the HuMn2 almost immediately. I do like that it’s flat, simple, and convenient for those who already keep a light wallet, and one that can take a beating. Still, at $140 for the carbon version, I would recommend this to people who carry very few cards and are rather concerned about RFID issues, or want a slim wallet that will survive getting wet without issue. For me, I’m still on the hunt for that great small wallet.
Our best advice for avoiding RFID theft? Leave those ‘swipe and pay’ cards at home. If you’re not sure which ones are or aren’t RFID enabled, call your bank. It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when traveling.