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Old Jul 4, 02, 5:13 pm   #1
 
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Credit Cards - demagnitized - through airport security - what should I do?

One can almost never successfully swipe my credit card - one has to punch in the 16 digit number, with expiration date - of my credit card. I will ask for a new credit card.

I travel by air frequently (at least a couple times a month). Sometimes, I carry my wallet in my pants/trousers pockers - through the metal detector. Sometimes, I put my wallet in my attache, and it goes through the xray machine, for hand-carried baggage/ luggage.

What can I do, to minimize the demagnitization of the magnetic strip on the back of my new credit card, so that swiping the credit card number will be successful?
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Old Jul 4, 02, 6:39 pm   #2
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I've heard that if you have more than one card adjacent in your wallet, to make sure the strips don't touch.
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Old Jul 4, 02, 6:41 pm   #3
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I find that one of my credit cards often has problems with the magnetic strip. It's also the one I use the most. Other cards get x-rayed/metal detected just as often and have no problem. So I'm not sure it's the airport security that's killing your card.


If your magnetic strip starts to die, there are a couple of tricks that I've learned from various merchants. First, where possible slide the card in the opposite direction. Second, put a thin strip of scotch tape on the strip.

I have no idea why these two tricks work, but I'm sure some engineer could chime in. For all I know, it's just pacebo effect.

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Old Jul 4, 02, 7:50 pm   #4
 
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Dude are you serious!? I dunno, can't believe it based on my experience. I had the same 4 cards for the last 2+ years thru lots of metal detectors way more than a few times a month and never any troubles. And before that the similar cards for many years thru metal detectors etc. And before that... it goes on and on with only one dud that was a newew card (below).

Maybe you are sitting too close to your teevee or your computer or cellphone is too close to the cards?? This is more likely as these items are proven to demagnetize.I dunno it seems like a reach to say it is the metal detectors.

Though I do recall a while back one card was giving me troubles while it was new, (and probably a a placebo effect here) but the clerks would rub the magnetic strip side back and forth on their shirt or pants then rescan. I doubt it does anything but for some reason the card did take when this is done.

I googlesearched 'credit card demagnetize' and found a few hits related to this but they are not substantiated, probably urban legends.

Just call your cc company and get a new card. Maybe this was a bad one in the encoding batch. Good luck.
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Old Jul 5, 02, 8:21 am   #5
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I've heard setting your credit card on the bar scanners that are built into the counter at places such as Home Depot will also potentially demagnatize your card. I've had to call and ask for new ones. On my much-loved Amex, the signature strip is coming off from over use.
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Old Jul 5, 02, 10:02 am   #6
 
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One trick is to flex the card so that the magnetic strip bows outward before running it through the slot or inserting in the gas pump. I used to have to do this for one of my old cards before I replaced it.

Of course the credit card company will be very happy to send you a new card to make it easier for you to spend money on it.
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Old Jul 5, 02, 9:20 pm   #7
 
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by letiole:
I've heard setting your credit card on the bar scanners that are built into the counter at places such as Home Depot will also potentially demagnatize your card. I've had to call and ask for new ones. On my much-loved Amex, the signature strip is coming off from over use. </font>

From a merchant.
We have had to refuse cards where the signature strip had worn off of CC. (the word void will magically appear) If the signature line is unreadable or reads void, the merchant has no recourse if AMEX (or any other CC) challenges the card.

The simplest procedure with AMEX is to call them. They will FEDEX a new card overnight.

As to the demagnetization. It often happens if the wallet is placed on the TV in a Hotel Room. Or if the Wallet is on the desk next to a laptop (or behind it)

Just a merchant and traveler's observations.

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Old Jul 6, 02, 2:47 am   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by letiole:
I've heard setting your credit card on the bar scanners that are built into the counter at places such as Home Depot will also potentially demagnatize your card. I've had to call and ask for new ones. On my much-loved Amex, the signature strip is coming off from over use. </font>
I think it's not the bar scanners, but the anti-theft deactivation thing that kills the cards. Some retailers have a metalic tag on high-value/frequently stolen items. The device which deactivates the tag has some kind of magnetic field which can also kill credit cards.

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Old Jul 6, 02, 11:02 am   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">We have had to refuse cards where the signature strip had worn off of CC. (the word void will magically appear)</font>
Yes, I can currently see "void" three times. So far, no one's refused it (and so many places have those swiping machines they never even see the card), but I do need to call for a new one.
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Old Jul 6, 02, 11:21 am   #10
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two years ago - during a North America trip - all my credit cards were demagnitized, and it was all my fault - I did pack them together with my reserve batteries ... (two AAA-reserve batteries were in my wallet to gether with my cash)

[This message has been edited by Rudi (edited 07-06-2002).]
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Old Jul 6, 02, 2:07 pm   #11
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It is very difficult (actually almost impossible) to screw up the magnetic strip on a credit card by subjecting it to the magnetic fields or the electric fields normally encountered in everyday life…..including airports, stores, bars etc. Most problems are caused by minute scratches on the mag strip. Ditto for 3.5 inch computer disks, computer hard drives, magnetic tapes etc.

In March my AMEX card would not swipe. The clerks rubbed it on their shirts/blouses, their pants, snapped it with their fingers, rubbed it with a greasy thumb but all with little success. I finally called AMEX for a replacement card. They sent out a new one via snail mail but WITH A BRAND NEW NUMBER. They said this is their policy.

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Old Jul 6, 02, 2:36 pm   #12
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by MisterNice:
...but WITH A BRAND NEW NUMBER. </font>
Being a numbers person, this is the WORST!. I had my cc number memorized and it was the same one for 6 years, my old MP visa... then they switched over to these darn new numbers when I called for a new card b/c the "void" was showing up under my signature.

I still managed to use the old card for 9 more months, pleading to merchants "but this is the perfect number and I don't want to memorize a new one.." That card expired in 6/00. Now I must move forward...
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Old Jul 6, 02, 11:56 pm   #13
 
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Just another little side note from the merchant's side.

If we have to punch in the numbers, we get charged more. And the CC companies charge EVEN MORE if we have to call in to verify the card.

So make your local merchants happy and request a new card.

Smile, Dangit!!!!
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Old Jul 7, 02, 12:31 am   #14
 
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by MisterNice:
WITH A BRAND NEW NUMBER. They said this is their policy.</font>
It is their policy. I've worn out three Amex cards in the past decade, and each time they changed two digits: the last digit on the first block of four digits, and the last digit on the last block of five digits. They also inserted a raised field of three letters and a digit in the lower right portion of the card to indicate where the replacement card originated. In all cases, I had my new card in less than 30 minutes from the the phone call. Amex simply instructed their local office to print up a card and courier it to my office, a couple of blocks away.

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Old Jul 7, 02, 3:12 am   #15
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<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Originally posted by gregseattle:
Being a numbers person, this is the WORST!</font>
I too have memorized my most commonly used credit card numbers and was very annoyed when I had to get a new Amex number due to the worn out magnetic strip. Had I known I'd get a new number I would have just dealt with the poor strip and forced the merchants to enter the numbers manually. (Sorry mapsmith!)

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