Xshield: iPhone Wallet Keeps ID Thieves At Bay
Most people are practically glued to their mobile phones, much more so than even their purses, wallets and keys. That concept has inspired a multitude of designers to create cell phone cases that double as wallets. But self-described security expert Arvin Younan wanted to take the model one step further. Younan created the Xshield—the world’s first removable magnetic case designed for the iPhone 5 that not only includes a wallet to store cards, keys and cash, but also offers RFID protection.
Integrated circuit cards—RFID or IC—can store a variety of information and data such as a consumer’s name, address, job title and financial records. The cards are becoming widely used in the US, Canada and many other countries. The cards are equipped with chips that allow users to quickly and easily scan them instead of swiping a magnetic stripe, but they can also be scanned by identity thieves—sometimes from as far as 50 feet away.
“Our society has found more and more ways to utilize technology to make everyday tasks a bit easier. Unfortunately, thieves are using the same technology to steal private information, too,” said Younan, adding that credit cards, passports, drivers’ licenses and other identification cards are just some examples of cards that may include RFID technology. “A lot of people don’t know how vulnerable their personal data is.”
Younan told WallStreetInsanity he wanted combine multiple utilities into one fashionable, useful item. The magnets included in each half of the Xshield block identity thieves from scanning RFID cards and allow users to easily pull the two halves of the case apart and place them back together again.
“People tend to forget their purse or wallet much easier (than their phones),” he said. “A lot of times when you leave the door the first thing you grab is your cell phone. And I wanted to make (Xshield) removable. There’s a lot of cases out there, but this is completely different from the other ones. For example, if you’re in the kitchen cooking, can attach (the phone) to any metal surface and keep talking.”
The removable wallet is also a security feature.
“Let’s say somebody asks to borrow your phone,” Younan told WallStreetInsanity. “Where as other cases you have to hand them your whole wallet, the Xshield lets you remove it easily.”
But wait a minute… Won’t those magnets hurt credit cards and phones? We wondered the same thing. But Younan guarantees the magnets are not strong enough to do that kind of damage.
“A magnet has to be in direct contact and the magnet has to be strong enough (to demagnetize a card),” Younan told WallStreetInsanity, adding that he tested the Xshield with his own credit cards. “It’s designed with the credit cards on the left and the magnet on the right. A lot of people are curious where the magnet is. It’s hidden underneath the leather where it’s not visible.”
The compact Xshield—the case is smaller than most others and easily fits into a pocket or purse—is designed to be stylish with its Italian leather exterior in either grey and black or red and white. It also features an optional strap so it may be worn around the user’s neck or wrist for added convenience.
Now that Younan has developed his prototype and lined up a Hong Kong manufacturer, he is seeking crowdfunding on Kickstarter to move his invention to the manufacturing stage. The project, which launched Feb. 7, is seeking to raise $12,000 by March 19 in order to secure funding. As of Feb. 18, a total of 15 backers have pledged $982.
The Kickstarter project is accepting any and all pledges to support the Xshield, even as small as $1. But those wishing to get their own Xshield have the opportunity to do so with as low as a $49 pledge. The Super Early Bird Special will be awarded to the first 350 backers who pledge $49—they will each receive an Xshield with a removable magnetic case, the full package. As of this writing, only 3 specials are left.
Potential backers need not worry once the Super Early Bird Special is gone, they can still get their own Xshield and removable case for the iPhone 5 for a $59 pledge. Want a second removable case to keep separate sets of personal belongings and quickly interchange wallets? A $25 pledge offers just that. Those backers seeking the ultimate package—an Xshield, removable case and a pair of Xguard screen protectors—have the option available for a $65 pledge.
Of course for any of the pledges to count and any of the items to be manufactured, the full Kickstarter goal must be met on time. But Younan told WallStreetInsanity the Kickstarter specials are a true bargain. The Xshield will retail for $99 once the campaign is over.
“For this price, this is a bargain,” he said. “This is not going to be offered at this price again. We have seen other wallet cases that aren’t fashionable and don’t offer RFID protection go for $60 to $100.”
Hopefully for Younan, Xguard meets its Kickstarter campaign goals because he really has placed all his eggs into one basket. After spending months prototyping the device, finding a manufacturer and putting together the Kickstarter campaign, all of Younan’s resources are spent.
“There is no Plan B at this time,” he told WallStreetInsanity.
That’s right. No Plan B. So listen up readers. If you like the Xshield and think you’d like to own one, get busy making those pledges. Otherwise you’ll not only miss out on the special pricing, but the world may miss out on the Xshield.
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