Credit card protector help needed

Because of my work I use my credit card quite a bit - several times a day. Between the swiping and the in and out of my wallet the strip wears down fast. I’m replacing it every 4 moths or so.

The bank used to hand out little tyvek type envelopes to protect the strip but I don’t think they do anymore. I’m not concerned about RFID Blocking protection, just physical wear.

So, two questions:

  1. I’m looking for a free source for the envelopes or…
  2. Can I just put a piece of cellophane tape over the strip without reducing the effective reading of the strip at the POS.

A piece of tape should work. But I saying that only based on the fact that a worn out strip will work if you put the card in a plastic bag and swipe it through the bag, so I’m assuming it’ll swipe through the tape as well. However, the tape is going to wear off and either be a PITA to completely remove or wreck a store’s machine. Those machines are hundreds of dollars. Store owners for that reason and just because they don’t know why you have tape on your card might not want to swipe it.

If you look at how the card is wearing down, I’ll bet it’s mostly from being swiped and less so from being in your pocket so you don’t have a lot of options. That being said, you’ll probably be getting a chip/EMV card very soon and it won’t matter as much.

Giving this my one bump in hopes the Monday morning crowd has an answer.

I’m with the people who say that actually using the card is what wears the strip down the most. My last debit card had distinct wear patterns that corresponded to the read head of the reader and about an inch down the card, another set of lines/grooves corresponding to the top of the reader slot.

Why the worry though? In my experience you can just call your bank/credit card company and get a new card without any hassle. Sure, the number may be a little bit different, but that’s not a huge deal IMO.

Amazon has them for about $.20. Of course, they come in a package of 50 though. Considering that I’m using the same one that the bank gave me about 20 years ago, it would take quite a while to use of 50 of them. You could hand them out a Xmas presents.

The problem is that it’s mainly a business card and I have all of my online ordering set up with it so changing all of my online accounts to the new account is a hassle.

Like I said, they should move you to EMV/Chip very soon so it won’t be as big of a hassle. In the mean time you could put Apple/Andriod Pay on your phone, upload your card to that and use it at many places that take EMV based cards.
Personally, I don’t like Android pay (or whatever it’s called), but at least you won’t be swiping your card as often.

You might try asking at your bank. They might have a supply of them on hand. Or ask at another bank. Or, if you have friends who do their banking at another bank, ask them to ask their bank. You might still be able to find them somewhere.

All of my credit cards are chipped now, but most of the stores still don’t have chip readers. Someone I spoke to in one of the stores in Chicago told me that there are only two companies who do the equipment upgrades locally, and they are 6 months behind, so I don’t expect to see widespread use of chip readers here until next summer.

I do wish more retailers would take Apple Pay. It’s so convenient for me to just tap my watch and pay with it. It would be really nice if they’d email me the receipts and stop handing me strips of paper. :slight_smile:

This is what I was going to say. Does your card currently have a chip? If so, use that as much as possible. In the coming months, more and more places will use the chip, which will reduce wear on the card. Within a year or so, I predict that this won’t be an issue for you anymore.

You can just request a replacement card with the same number so you don’t have to change anything. Don’t report it as lost, just tell them it’s worn out and you need another copy of the same card.

If you’re rich you can also consider something like a Stratos card that electronically reprograms the magstripe on the fly each time anyway:

That won’t prevent MECHANICAL wear (like the “grooving”) someone above said, but it might help with gradually-weakened magnetism.

Or you can also get (for about $300, I think?) your own mag-stripe writer and just duplicate your company credit card with the same info that’s currently on it. Then you’ll have an unlimited supply of copies.

The smart chip is a contact (not wireless) card, isn’t it? Wouldn’t that just transfer the wear from the stripe to the contact pad?

I have noticed some wear on mine. We’ll find out very quickly how they wear out in comparison to the mag stripe.

It’s a young technology. The chips will get better as well as the readers.

Good question. My understanding is that while a chip card is not a contactless card, the physical force used on it per reading is much less than on a traditional card, making it much more durable. I admit that I am not 100% sure on this though, so would welcome anyone who has better info than me.