Abstract Unlike the impedance plane analysis form of common eddy current testing (ECT), the remote field eddy current (RFEC) technique is a through-transmission effect that reduces problems such as lift-off normally associated with ECT. In the inspection of steam generator (SG) tubes, the real issue is to detect the minute cracks growing up from the outside. However, using ECT, it is considered infeasible to accurately find them from the inside because of the limitations of penetration of eddy currents. This paper describes a finite-element approach to the solution of time-harmonic electromagnetic fields for the RFEC technique based on a magnetic vector potential and an electric scalar potential. A comparison is made of experimental and finite-element predictions of electromagnetic phenomena under the inspection of non-magnetic tubes. For the cracks outside demanding high sensitive and precise measurements in the SG tube inspection, numerical results are given for parameters to design a RFEC probe.