Fix A Non-Swiping Credit Card With A Piece Of Tape

If you use your credit card long enough, sooner or later that sensitive magnetic strip will get worn down and no longer swipe properly. While you're waiting for your replacement card, here's a quick fix: Tape over the magnetic strip.

Photo remixed from an original by Mettus / Shutterstock

Wired explains why this works:

A credit card is like a cassette tape. And just as your old copy of Van Halen II got fuzzy after hundreds of repeat performances, a credit card slowly gets garbled from overswiping. The reason: Both the tape and the magnetic stripe on the card are made up of millions of iron-oxide particles that convey information by generating electrical 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. If only reviving David Lee Roth's career were that easy.

For more scientific ways to improve your life, see the whole Wired article below.

Wired's Lab-Tested, Muppet-Vetted Formulas for Smartifying Your Life [Wired]


    Working in retail I learnt that using a plastic bag works too, not all the time but people preferred that to me putting sticky tape on their cards

    Please Please Please don't do this, it only works for like a week at best then wrecks your card. I work for a bank and we see cards like this come in all the time and they are always ruined. The plastic bag trick is great but at the end of the day of your cards messing up your better off just going and getting a new one.

      I agree with Kim, this is a terrible thing to do. A over zealous sales person once did this to my card, after a while the tape started to come off, but the sticky residue remained. When using my card in an ATM the sticky residue stopped the card from ejecting - problem was that it didn't eject it enough for me to grab my card, but left it sticking out enough that some creative person with some tweesers or long nails would be able to.

        How about get a new card? It doesn't take longer than a week to get one so use tape for a week until you get the new one.

    I also work in retail and strongly advise against using tape. The first time you have to use a plastic bag more than once then start the request process with your bank to get a new card.

    Also work in retail, but back office.

    Here's a tip, why not just enter the card in manually? : )

    Or an even better idea! Use the chip!!!! Its only a bazillion more times more secure!! If you dont have one, Get a new card. Not many banks dont use these now.

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