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Old Jun 29, 05, 3:49 pm   #1
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Can Your Cell Phone "Wipe" Your Magnetic Room Card?

I had an interesting experience the other week. I went to my hotel room and inserted the card, and nothing happened. I did it repeatedly with no success in getting the lock to disengage, so I finally went downstairs to get the problem fixed.

The clerk at the desk whipped me up a new one right away, then asked me if I kept the card near my cell phone.

Well, yes, I did. The phone is clipped to my belt on my left side and I habitually keep my room "key" in my left pocket in its paper sleeve.

She said that it is very common in her experience that when the cell phone goes off, it somehow tends to mess up the magnetic stripe on the room card on occasion. She said that it very seldom happens unless the two are in close proximity.

While I have had this happen to me a few times in the past, and it certainly sounds reasonable, I am also thinking of the hundreds of stays where the room card did NOT get wiped.

What do you think? Is this plausible?
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Old Jun 29, 05, 3:53 pm   #2
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I have certainly seen this happen, so I keep them in seperate pockets.
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Old Jun 29, 05, 4:24 pm   #3
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Wow learn something every day. I always keep my cell in same pocket as keycard and had no problems. Hmm when I'm home I have magnetic keys for work and home - I dont have enough pockets to keep them all separate and separate from cell.
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Old Jun 29, 05, 5:40 pm   #4
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Yep, it's a learning experience for sure here. I do thank you for the input!
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Old Jun 29, 05, 7:20 pm   #5
 
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Happened to me in South Africa a few weeks ago. Similar to you, I was stunned when the front desk girl asked if I had kept it with my cellphone but sure enough that assumption was spot on!
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Old Jun 29, 05, 7:47 pm   #6
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The main reason for this happening is that hotel room key cards hold very little information on their magnetic strip (around 2% or so), whereas other cards (credit cards, DLs, etc.) hold more information on them. Something about what's encoded on them has to do with how "durable" it is, thus making your permanent cards less likely to be decoded or damaged. If you swiped a credit card for all its data in a card swiper, lots of information comes up. Swiping a room key card pulls nothing off the strip.
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Old Jun 29, 05, 9:02 pm   #7
 
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Cell phone speakers can definitely demag credit cards, card keys, computer discs, etc. An analog speaker is basically a little inductor, a little electromagnet.

Some cell phones are much worse than others. The Treo 650 is particularly nasty to card keys in the pocket.
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Old Jun 29, 05, 9:41 pm   #8
 
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I have one of a PDA phone, which has a magnet in the swivel screen. I went through 5 embassy keycards one week until I figured out my error
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Old Jun 29, 05, 10:15 pm   #9
 
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My Motorola RAZR wipes my hotel room key if they are next to one another AND the phone rings. Never had the problem with my old Ericsson R320s, and I kept hotel key cards next to it. Maybe it's some phones only?

Glenn
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Old Jun 29, 05, 11:01 pm   #10
 
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Had this happen to me this weekend! I found out trying to get into the parking garage with the key. ARGH!! It was a bit of a pain to back out and get to the front of the hotel.

Fool me once...
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Old Jun 30, 05, 12:19 am   #11
 
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Credit cards are meant to be recorded once only, so they're deliberately difficult (though not impossible) to demagnatize. Hotel room keys, on the other hand, are routinely erased and reused so they're more vulnerable to accidental erasure.
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Old Dec 28, 05, 10:46 am   #12
 
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Has anyone actually had their credit card wiped out by a cell phone?

I recently bought a new cell phone (Sanyo 200) and with my previous phone I got in the habit of propping the phone up on my wallet so I could hear it if it rang. The next time I went to use my credit card (about 4 days after getting the phone) it wouldn't swipe in the gas pump. I went to 2 other stations and also tried another card, which also wouldn't swipe.

I contacted one of the card companies and they said there is nothing wrong with my account. So a new card is on its way to me. However, I have discovered that gas stations (at least the 3 I stopped at) are not allowed to manually input the card number, if it can not be swiped they can not accept it. Luckily last nights hotel could manually input the number, hopefully the next 2 hotels can also.

So does anyone know for sure (not just internet rumor) if cell phones can wipe out credit cards? Or should I be looking for another cause that would make 2 cards go bad?
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Old Dec 28, 05, 4:46 pm   #13
 
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does cell phone affect remote to open car?
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Old Dec 28, 05, 5:04 pm   #14
 
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I have had my key erased while in my wallet several times (plain leather not the alligator stuff that was erasing cards in the 90s). Now I keep it in my pocket with cell phone and have not had any problems...yet. Guess I'll switch pockets.
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Old Dec 28, 05, 5:31 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsporing
I have had my key erased while in my wallet several times (plain leather not the alligator stuff that was erasing cards in the 90s). Now I keep it in my pocket with cell phone and have not had any problems...yet. Guess I'll switch pockets.
just make sure you remember which pocket you put it in
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