5 Gadgets Every Credit Card Lover Should Have

Dec 15, 2016

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

While the latest tools and gizmos offer solutions for protecting and keeping our information safe, are any of them really worth the splurge? Here, we take a closer look and let you decide.

1. Bluetooth Tracker

Scenario: While at the airport terminal, you get a push alert on your phone, indicating your wallet was left at a nearby Starbucks.

While manufacturers are still perfecting this technology, when these trackers do work, they have the potential to prevent some major stress for busy or absent-minded travelers out there (hey, we all have our moments). Simply slip the small tracking chip into a wallet or bag or attach this handy device to a key ring. Then, connect the chip or tag via Bluetooth technology to an app on your smartphone. An alert will go off when the wallet is no longer within close range and guide you back to its location. It is important to note, however, that many of these trackers only work when the missing item is within Bluetooth range, and that could be only a mere 100 feet or so. Available from brands like TrackR and Tile, starting at $30.

2. RFID Wallet

Scenario: While on a trip to Europe, you’re in a busy train station and notice a stranger holding what appears to be a scanning device a few feet away — it’s some punk with an RFID (or Radio Frequency Identification) reader. Luckily, you have a special wrapper around your cards, making the reader unable to scan any data for potential fraudulent use.

While many travelers like the idea of a special wallet lining to prevent a thief from reading credit or debit cards, it turns out RFID wallets are only really necessary if you have contactless cards. In the US, most of us don’t — we have newer EMV chip cards.

But what about protecting passports and Global Entry cards that still use RFID technology? G. Mark Hardy, president of the National Security Corporation, says not to worry. “Even if a hacker was able to ‘read’ the information, it would be useless as it merely points to a record number, and does not contain the name or even address the person.” His bottom line: “I consider the risk to be low, but a simple lined card sleeve, usually available for free with advertising on it, is a sufficient defense that makes the likelihood of a successful attack nearly zero.” Available from several different brands on Amazon.com, starting at $7.

3. Mobile Credit Card Reader

Scenario: While on a weekend trip with friends, splitting a hefty hotel bill becomes a scramble. To make it easy for everybody, pay the entire bill, then take credit card payments from your friends using a Square card reader — no cash or checks required.

While some prefer sticking to PayPal or Venmo, mobile credit card readers can also be a handy tool for taking swipe payments via smartphone or tablet. Square is becoming a fast favorite for small business owners and travelers alike, although you should be prepared to get hit with a small fee per transaction. Available from $29 on Squareup.com.

4. Apple Watch

Scenario: You’re wrapping up a fancy dinner with a potential business partner and have just paid the bill with a credit card. As the waiter starts to process the payment, an alert goes off on your Apple Watch that your card was just declined at the restaurant. Yikes! To prevent your business contact from ever learning about the embarrassing blunder, you walk discreetly over to the waiter with a new card in hand. Bill is paid. Crisis averted.

Wearable devices are an easy solution for those who want to discretely check emails and alerts without whipping out a smartphone. While smartwatches aren’t exactly flying off the shelves this year, wearable device companies are rebranding their products in hopes of making a comeback. Apple Watch, for instance, recently dropped the price on some of its simpler models and rolled out some more sophisticated water-resistant pieces. So, for us credit card lovers out there who want to stay connected to those favorite bank and money apps on the go, this could be a gadget score. Available via Apple from $269.

5. Anti-Theft Bag

Scenario: You’re about to take a selfie while touring the Eiffel Tower when you feel a strange pulling sensation coming from your bag — it’s a pickpocket trying to sneak his hand into your purse. Luckily, extra zippers and pockets prevent him or her from gaining easy access to the goods on the inside. Frustrated, the thief gives up and runs away.

Advertisers promise tourists they’ll stay safe wearing an anti-theft purse. How? These cross-body bags are designed with slash-proof compartments, lobster claw clasps, and added zippers to help ward off crooks. While criminologist Bob Arno says being alert is the best weapon against a thief — and there may be times when it’s best to just give up the bag (like during a potentially dangerous mugging situation) — it is possible these bags could work as a deterrent. Several styles available through Travelon and Pacsafe, with bags from both brands starting at $40.

Do you travel with any of these items? 

Featured image courtesy of TrackR’s Facebook page.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.