Bank card: beware, these objects can demagnetize it

Bank card: beware, these objects can demagnetize it


The French love their bank cards. Purchases made under this system accounted for three of the five transactions in France in 2021, according to the Banque de France’s Payment Security Observatory. However, plastic cards remain fragile and can even demagnetize.

Useful but fragile. While bank card purchases accounted for three out of five transactions in France in 2021, according to the Banque de France’s Payment Security Observatory, plastic cards remain fragile and may even demagnetize.

It is thus surprising to find out that your card is often muted at the cash register in the store or, more annoyingly, that the payment does not pass when you are in a hurry to pay for the motorway toll. Another point to watch out for is the black magnetic stripe on the back of your card, which some countries still require a lot to pay for the purchase. This is especially the case in the United States, where it is used by many shops, restaurants and hotels.

It is therefore advisable to check that your bank card is not demagnetized. A problem that can have various causes. Most likely, the card was in contact with or placed near an object that altered its operation. This is the case when you have held the card close to the magnet. A child who would hang it on magnets on the fridge so he could play. Strong magnets on the speakers of a hi-fi system or sound system may also be responsible if you have placed a bank card nearby.

Smartphones are not responsible

Contrary to popular belief in mobile phones, if you place the card on the back of your smartphone, it is very unlikely that it will be demagnetized. However, this is due to some protective cases for smartphones, which may contain a magnet for attaching supports. Here it is better to be careful not to approach the card from its surface. Another accepted idea, storing several bank cards together in the same wallet will not endanger their magnetism.

The age of the card can also play a role. Wear of the magnetic tape or its regular exposure to the above objects may change its function.

To solve a magnetic tape problem, sometimes it is enough to lightly wipe it with a soft or smooth piece of cloth to reactivate it. If the problem persists, you should return the card to your bank.

Finally, bank cards using EMV technology, developed by the consortium of EuroPay, Visa, Mastercard (hence their name), avoid this type of problem. These are based on an electronic chip that stores and protects the data of their owner. For added security, they are not stored on a magnetic strip. This is a very common standard nowadays, but some cards may not have it.



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