How to Fix a Demagnetized Card

A demagnetized card is a credit, debit, or ATM card that has lost its magnetic strip due to damage. This can be caused by exposing the card to extreme heat and cold. However, it’s also possible for this problem to happen due to physical contact with magnets.

How to Fix a Demagnetized Card

If you notice your cards are not working right away, remove them from any old purses or wallets before inserting them into new ones. For example, if the wallet is exposed to high temperatures like those found in an oven, it will cause problems when giving the items back. Today I am going to discuss a process on how to fix a demagnetized card. So let us get started.

What is a Demagnetized Card

A demagnetized card is one that has lost its magnetic strip due to damage. This can occur in a variety of ways, such as exposure to high temperatures or physical contact with magnets. When this happens, the card may not work properly and you may experience difficulties using it for transactions.

You can test if your card has been demagnetized by trying to use it at a store or an ATM. If it is not working, then the magnetic strip may have been damaged. The good news is that you can usually fix a demagnetized card without having to replace it.

Why Cards Get Demagnetized

Signs of a Demagnetized Card

There are several signs that indicate your card may be demagnetized:

  • The card doesn’t work when swiped or inserted into a machine
  • You receive error messages when trying to use the card
  • The magnetic strip appears visibly damaged or scratched
  • The card is not detected by machines that require a magnetic strip to function, such as parking meters or vending machines.
  • The card works intermittently but not consistently
  • You have difficulty making online purchases with the card

If you notice any of these signs, there is a good chance that your card has been demagnetized.

Necessary Supplies:

To fix a demagnetized card, you will need the following supplies:

A Strong Magnet (Such as a Fridge Magnet or a Magnetic Strip):

You will need a strong magnet to remagnetize the card’s magnetic strip. This can be any type of magnet, such as a fridge magnet or a magnetic strip from an old credit card.

A Piece of Paper:

A piece of paper is needed to create a barrier between the strong magnet and the demagnetized card. This will help prevent further damage to the card’s magnetic strip.

A Soft Cloth:

A soft cloth is needed to clean the magnetic strip of the card before and after remagnetizing it. This will help ensure a better connection between the card and the machine when using it. 

Rubbing Alcohol:

Rubbing alcohol can be used to clean the magnetic strip of any dirt or debris that may affect its functionality. This is especially important if the card has been exposed to extreme temperatures or has visible damage.

11 Step-by-step Guidelines on How to Fix a Demagnetized Card:

Step 1: Prepare the Work Area

Lay the towel or cloth on a flat surface and place the iron on top of it. Make sure to set the temperature to low heat. This will serve as your work area where you will fix the demagnetized card. You can also use a table or any other flat surface that you are comfortable working on. It is important to use a soft cloth or towel to prevent any scratches on the card’s magnetic strip. But do not use a towel that has threads as they can be easily caught in the card’s magnetic strip.

Step 2: Clean the Card

Use a soft cloth to gently clean the front and back of the demagnetized card. This will help remove any dirt or debris that may affect the remagnetizing process. Make sure to wipe it dry before proceeding to the next step. The card should be completely dry before attempting to fix it. It is recommended to use a clean, lint-free cloth for best results. You can also use a little bit of rubbing alcohol to clean the card if it is dirty or has residue on it.

Step 3: Place the Piece of Paper

Place the piece of paper on top of the iron. This will serve as a barrier between the magnet and the card’s magnetic strip. It is important to use a piece of paper that is not too thick or too thin. A regular sheet of printer paper will work perfectly. You can also use a business card if you have one handy. You want to make sure that the paper does not interfere with the magnetic field. It should be just enough to separate the card from the magnet.

Step 4: Place the Magnet

Place the strong magnet on top of the piece of paper. Make sure it is centered and does not move around easily. You can also tape the magnet to the paper to keep it in place. Just make sure not to cover the entire magnet with tape as this may interfere with its magnetic field. It is important to use a strong magnet for this process as it will ensure better results. However, do not use a magnet that is too strong, as it may cause further damage to the card.

Step 5: Place the Card

Place the demagnetized card on top of the magnet, with its magnetic strip facing down. Make sure it is centered and does not move around easily. The piece of paper should be between the magnet and the card’s magnetic strip at all times. This will prevent any direct contact between the two, which can cause further damage to the card. They should be close enough to each other to create a magnetic field.

Step 6: Hold for 2-3 Minutes

Hold the card on top of the magnet for 2-3 minutes. You can use a timer or watch to keep track of time. This will allow the magnetic strip to realign and become properly magnetized again. Make sure not to move the card or magnet during this process as it may affect the magnetic strip. Otherwise, you may need to repeat the process again.

Step 7: Test the Card

After 2-3 minutes, remove the card from the magnet and test it by swiping or inserting it into a machine. If it works properly, then congratulations! You have successfully fixed your demagnetized card. If not, you can try repeating steps 4-6 again to see if it makes a difference. It may take a few attempts before the card is fully remagnetized. You can also try using a different strong magnet if available.

Step 8: Clean the Card Again

After successfully fixing the card, use a soft cloth to clean it once again. This will remove any residue or debris from the remagnetizing process. Make sure to wipe it dry before using it again. This will help prevent any further issues with the card’s magnetic strip. It is also recommended that the card be cleaned periodically, even if it is not demagnetized. But make sure to use a clean, lint-free cloth every time.

Step 9: Store the Magnet Away

Once you are done with fixing your card, make sure to store the magnet in a safe place away from any other cards or electronic devices. This will prevent accidental demagnetization of other cards or damage to electronic devices. You can also wrap the magnet in a piece of paper before storing it to further protect it from causing any harm.

Step 10: Contact Your Bank or Card Issuer

If your card remains demagnetized after multiple attempts, it is best to contact your bank or card issuer for assistance. They may provide a replacement card or alternative options for you to access your funds. It is important to also check if there are any issues with the card’s magnetic strip, as it may need to be replaced.

Step 11: Prevent Future Demagnetization

To prevent future demagnetization of your card, make sure to keep it away from strong magnets, electronic devices, and other sources of magnetic fields. When carrying multiple cards, make sure to keep them separated and do not place them near each other. It is also important to regularly clean your card and store it in a safe place when not in use.

Following these step-by-step guidelines on how to fix a demagnetized card can help you fix a demagnetized card and prevent any further issues with its magnetic strip. Remember to always handle your cards with care and avoid exposing them to strong magnets or other sources of magnetic fields. In case of persistent issues, do not hesitate to contact your bank or card issuer for assistance. 

Why do Cards Get Demagnetized?

The most obvious explanation is that they have been exposed to magnetic fields, causing the tiny iron oxide particles to become magnetized. Even though cards are usually shielded by plastic and paper from outside sources, a card can be demagnetized when close to other magnets or electric motors that use electromagnetic forces such as loudspeakers.

Inexpensive speakers with permanent magnets can also cause problems if near credit cards because their own magnetic field may affect the data on your card. So always try not to keep your wallet near these types of devices!

Disadvantages of Demagnetized Cards

  1. You can’t rely on card readers to read your information.
  2. Because of the magnetic stripe, you might not be able to use the credit card machine at a gas station or store. So you’ll need cash in that case, which is inconvenient if you don’t have any nearby, and it may take some time before you find an ATM with available funds for a withdrawal.
  3. If someone steals your wallet, they will be aware of all your card’s numbers and security codes (if the card has one), so nothing stops them from making purchases without being caught, whereas these details are often required when using cash. A thief could easily buy expensive items like airplane tickets or designer clothing without tracing where the money has gone.
  4. Magnetic stripes on cards are the same as a piece of iron that is easily attracted to magnets, so when you place it near a magnet (or another magnetic card), such as those in your wallet or purse, the information can be transferred and used by anyone with access to the stripe.

Key Considerations While Fixing a Demagnetized Card

  1. Verify the card is demagnetized by running a magnet over it and seeing if any magnetic fields are still detected. It may be possible to run a strong magnet underneath the cabinet or under your desk that could have been enough to demagnetize your credit cards, cash, etc., without you even realizing it!
  2. If the card is demagnetized, you can use a strong magnet to reverse the effects. The magnets will only need to be held where these magnetic fields are detected for about two minutes (although some have found it takes less time). This should fix any issue with cards not working in keycard readers and other machines that rely on magnetic strip information encoded onto credit cards.
  3. After fixing your card(s), make sure to test them out before going back into circulation! If they still don’t work after running them through an ATM or using them at a store register, see if there’s anything else you could’ve done wrong while reversing their magnetic field.
Key Considerations While Fixing a Demagnetized Card

Tips: How to Protect Your Cards From Demagnetization

  1. Keep your cards away from magnets, such as those found in speakers, refrigerators, and purses.
  2. Do not put multiple cards together as the magnetic fields can interfere with each other and cause demagnetization.
  3. Invest in a cardholder or wallet that has an RFID-blocking feature to protect against electronic pickpocketing.
  4. Use a lint-free cloth to clean your card regularly and wipe it dry before using it again.
  5. Store your magnet away from other cards and electronic devices in a safe place.
  6. Regularly check for any damages or issues with the magnetic strip on your card and contact your bank or card issuer if necessary.
  7. Avoid exposing your card to extreme temperatures as it can damage the magnetic strip.
  8. Keep your cards separated and do not place them near each other when carrying multiple cards.
  9. Use caution when handling strong magnets or devices that emit strong electromagnetic fields.
  10. Always handle your cards with care and avoid bending or scratching the magnetic strip.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do Magnets Ruin Credit Cards?

Magnetic stripes are the most widely used type of credit card encoding. When you swipe a magnetic stripe, it reads the data on the card’s copper-based strip, which an electromagnet reads.

Magnetic strips can be found on both credit cards and debit cards.

No, magnets will not ruin your credit cards. However, magnetic fields can cause problems with the card reader.

Magnetic fields are all around us. They are used in many products that we use daily like computers and televisions.

Will My Credit Card Work if I Sign on the Magnetic Strip?

No, your credit card will not work if you sign on the magnetic strip.

If you have a chip in your credit card, it will work because it has a unique number stored on the chip and can be read by the terminal.

What Causes Chips in Debit Cards to Stop Working?

A common cause of the problem is if you use your card to swipe multiple times. If you keep swiping, the contactless chip on the card can wear out and stop working properly.

You should avoid making more than one transaction with a single card per day. If you’re unsure how many transactions are allowed, check with your bank or credit union before using your card for multiple transactions in a day.

Avoid Making More Than One Transaction

Another reason cards may stop working is if they become wet or dirty.

How Can I Protect My Cards from Demagnetization?

Store your cards in a separate compartment or sleeve to prevent them from rubbing against each other and creating friction that can demagnetize the magnetic strip.

Avoid placing your cards near strong magnets or electronic devices like speakers, as they can cause damage to the magnetic strip.

Regularly clean your cards with a soft cloth and store them in a safe place when not in use.

Consider using RFID-blocking sleeves or wallets to protect your cards from electronic theft or demagnetization.

Final Thoughts

If your card is demagnetized, you can fix it by following the instructions in this article. The next thing to do after fixing the card will depend on how many times you have used it since it was replaced with a new one. If your company has purchased a large number of cards and only half are lost or damaged, then be sure to replace all of them at once so that they don’t happen again. This way, even if you lose another one, there won’t be any chance of someone else using yours for fraud purposes because it’s not registered as unique anymore! Thanks for reading this article on how to fix a demagnetized card.

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Jennifer Branett
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