RFID tags aren’t ideal compared to other tracking labels for a number of reasons. Some problems with RFID include different security and technological issues.
Because an RFID tag cannot distinguish between readers, the information can be read by almost anyone once it has left the original supply chain. Because RFID readers are so portable, and the range of some tags so great, scammers can gather information they would otherwise not have access to. This means that anyone can collect potentially sensitive information without a person’s knowledge.
Another security concern for consumers is that RFID tags can be linked to individual credit cards, creating the potential for financial theft and fraud.
Technology-wise, RFID tags are problematic largely because there are no real global or industry standards. Since they operate on radio frequency, RFID tags and their systems can also easily become jammed or disrupted, reducing their usability. This results in longer wait times and decreased productivity in both retail and warehouse settings.
There are also signal issues that can occur with RFID systems, including collision — when signals from two or more readers overlap, and interference caused by metal, water, or other magnetic fields in the surrounding area.
An RFID system is also time-consuming and labor-intensive to set up. Companies need to test various hardware and tag systems to determine the best fit, which can take months to arrange. In addition to the cost of the RFID system itself, such as RFID tags and scanners, an increase in time and labor also means an increase in cost.
These types of disadvantages are often avoided with the use of barcodes, which is why they are still a popular data collection and inventory control choice for many businesses.