That strip along the back of your credit card -- called a magnetic strip, magnetic stripe or magstripe -- is not there for decoration. It holds three lines of data that connect your card to your account. If the magstripe doesn’t work when you swipe your card, it may have become demagnetized. Protect the magstripe on the back of your credit card to ensure that you can use your card.
Place each credit card into a credit card slot in your wallet or billfold. Store only one credit card in each slot, as placing two credit cards together with magstripes touching could result in demagnetization.
Avoid placing your credit card or your wallet with your credit card inside near magnets. A magnetic closure on a purse or a bag could demagnetize the magstripe if your credit card gets too close to the magnet while inside your purse.
Keep your credit card clean and free of dust and dirt. Wipe the magstripe with a damp soft cloth if the credit card will not swipe properly. Moisten a cloth with isopropyl alcohol and pass it along the magstripe to remove stubborn debris.
Things You Will Need
- Soft cloth
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Credit card sleeve
- If you swipe your credit card and it’s a no-go, ask the cashier to key your credit card manually to process the transaction.
- If you use your credit card often, eventually the magstripe may wear out. If that happens, call the card issuer and request a replacement.
- Always keep your credit card in a sleeve if you store or carry it out of your wallet. Placing a loose credit card in a drawer or your pocket, purse or backpack could result in scratches on the magstripe.
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