ATM Card trouble

I have an ATM/Check card from my bank which is giving me trouble. It will read fine at certain places every time, while at other places it will never read properly. The funny thing is, at my local “Mega-Super-Nationwide-Discount-Mart”, when it will not read the clerk places my card inside a plastic bag, and “swipes” it. It will then read perfectly the first time, every time. WTF? :confused:

Is this a common problem? (I’m guessing it is if the clerks all know that trick) Why does putting it in a bag work? I’ve tried cleaning the card but that didn’t help. I know I could just request a new one, but I took it to my bank and they say that since it reads fine for them they have to charge me $20 for a new one.


Just a WAG but putting it in plastic makes it slide smoother so that may help the reader pick it up

A clerk at Sears once explained to me that, if the channel on the card reader is too wide, the sensor won’t make contact with the card’s magnetic strip, so when the card is wrapped in plastic, it becomes “thicker” and is more likely to make proper contact with the sensor.

Now that makes sense. I have noticed that, once in a while, the card reader doesn’t work unless I press the strip against the side when I swipe my card.

Yah, I had a shop assistant the other day put “sticky tape” (I think americans call that “sello tape”?) over the magnetic strip, and it worked.

Might have been their machine, though, as it works fine elsewhere.


That would be Scotch[sup]TM[/sup] tape.

FYI, it’s called sellotape in the UK

in the small retail outfit I used to work out, that trick often worked on credit cards that didn’t swipe…