Harvard Square Startup Debuts a Super-Skinny Wallet on Kickstarter

The Big Skinny Wallets are made of a nylon or leather-nylon hybrid, weighing around one ounce and lasting at least five years. The Alexandrov team says they’ve spent a long time developing their “skinny wallet” model and have now taken the idea to Kickstarter.

Big Skinny Wallets is introducing a line of RFID-blocking wallets in order to prevent identity fraud and card skimming. The Big Skinny Wallets Kickstarter will be funded on Feb. 10 (six days from now) and has already received commitments from more than 2,300 backers and $93,000 in pledge money—blowing away their $22,000 goal.

Many RFID-blocking wallets are relatively pricy but the Big Skinny wallets can be backed by contributions of at least $35. The Big Skinny wallets are estimated to be delivered in March

The RFID-blocking wallets remain light and thin—only .3 mm—but have a layer of copper and nickel within the wallet to block RFID scanning, protecting signals from 10 megahertz to 3,000 megahertz.

Many credit cards contain small chips that emit account information, which can be intercepted with card readers. This type of fraud is difficult to prevent for most consumers; most wallets or purses can be skimmed from a close distance. Consumer Reports found that many wallets “marketed as RFID-blocking devices can make it more difficult for someone with an electronic reader to read your cards, but they don’t entirely block transmission of card data.”

Nonetheless, Big Skinny Wallets affirmed that after significant internal testing, the wallets were successful at shielding credit cards and passports. Moreover, Kiril Alexandrov told BostInno that customers who had already received their wallets also reported that they were successful.

Big Skinny Wallets, based out of Harvard Square, notes on their Kickstarter page that they might face several challenges in production. Big Skinny Wallets warned that production might be delayed based on the size of the order they receive. According to Kiril, they were “really surprised” when they saw how well the Kickstarter campaign had done. “We also didn’t expect to receive so much international support. We have gotten orders from Canada, Germany and many other countries.” In response to international customer suggestions, Big Skinny Wallets even introduced a “world” wallet to aid in traveling.

Also, Kiril shared with BostInno that he was originally concerned there would be setbacks working with the new copper and nickel material. “We hadn’t planned on making any major changes from the initial design,” Kiril Alexandrov said. “It was a challenge.”

However, the new design works very well, he said.

Kiril Alexandrov said he wants to introduce a few new designs in the future and is always open to suggestions from customers. “The support we get from the Cambridge and Boston area definitely shapes our company,” he said.

The model of Kickstarter and the ability for consumers to participate in the design and production process is something Big Skinny Wallets has drawn on.

Big Skinny Wallets have become an affordable alternative to pricey RFID-blocking wallets and—if nothing else—are still pretty darn skinny.

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