How do you fix the magnetic strip on a credit card?

Updated July 19, 2017

In today's society, virtually every adult has a debit or credit card. Using plastic for a transaction is so much quicker and easier than pulling out the old check book or holding up the line while you count out exact change. But given the heavy use our plastic cards get, it's no surprise the magnetic strips start to wear out. Whether from repeated use or simply from riding around in your pocket, those magnetic strips won't last forever and you may need a quick fix in a pinch.

Determine the amount of damage or wear on your credit card. If it has actually been bent in half or has been cut in some way on the strip itself, you will not be able to fix it. If the strip simply appears to be worn or has a small ding in it, it will be easy to fix.

Cut a piece of scotch tape that will fit around your credit card. Adhere the tape to the card being careful not to get any wrinkles or ridges in it.

To ensure the tape is on tightly and securely, blow the hair dryer on it for a few seconds. This will warm the tape up just a bit and allow you to adjust it accordingly.

Take your card out and try purchasing with it again. For the test run, you may want to go to a store where you can swipe the card yourself so you can make sure the tape doesn't get hung up on the credit card reader.

Even though you can usually fix a credit card yourself, it is always best to follow up with a phone call to your credit card company. You never know how long your card will last and some vendors will not accept altered cards. Call the toll-free number listed on the back of your card and tell them you need a replacement card sent.


A vendor may decline your card for security reasons if it appears to be altered.

Things You'll Need

  • Credit card
  • Sellotape
  • Scissors
  • Hair dryer
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About the Author

Deanna Koch has worked as an IT professional since 1995. She attended Drake University with a major in computer science. Koch started writing professionally in 2000 when she began writing application user manuals and guides. Her user manuals were distributed in the marketing department of Target Corporation, and her many how-to guides are available for download on Drake University's website as well as eHow.