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November 5, 2011

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to fix a credit card that won't swipe


Wrote Judy Dutton in the November 2011 issue of Wired, "A credit card is like a cassette tape.... A credit card slowly gets garbled from overswiping. The reason: both the tape and the magnetic stripe on the [credit] card are made up of millions of iron-oxide particles that convey information by generating electircal pulses in the reader. With wear, these particles get smeared, creating background noise. Luckily, this noise has very low magnetism, and it can be dampened by increasing the space between the magnetic stripe and the head that reads it. So simply cover the stripe with Scotch tape."


November 5, 2011 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


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I beg to disagree with Wired's reasoning. It has more to do with the distance of the reader head to the strip with the magnetic information. I've received brand new cards that had random read errors that were fixed by increasing the spacing. Generally by using a plastic bag.

Posted by: Rocketboy | Nov 6, 2011 12:58:31 AM

We always just used a plastic shopping bag to cover the card before swiping.. also of note, if a pen 'won't work' when signing the receipt, just put the duplicate slip under the one you want to sign... works every time.

Posted by: retail maven | Nov 5, 2011 1:11:42 PM

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