So you got a new wallet or money clip for your birthday…or maybe Christmas? But wait! This wallet is a little different than others you’ve used in the past…it’s held together by a magnet? We’ve all seen them, typically in the form of a money clip with two giant magnets that “pop” the sides together.
Now don’t get us wrong…this is awesome in terms of keeping your money clip together and it holds cash, cards and receipts really well. In fact, that’s the reason you have it, because it holds your stuff together so much better than a traditional money clip. But that’s not why you’re here…
You’re here because you’ve heard about powerful magnets demagnetizing your cards. Is it true? Will magnets in money clips really demagnetize all of your cards? We’ve written this article to give you the lowdown on magnetic wallets.
The short answer is this, most magnets that are a part of wallets or money clips won’t generally demagnetize your credit cards. The magnets in these wallet simply aren’t strong enough.
Not All Cards Are Created Equal
That said there are a few cards that are more susceptible to being demagnetized than others. Cards such as hotel keys work injury badges and cards such as these utilize a weaker magnet and are more likely to be affected by wallet which also involves a magnet.
One of the main reasons you don’t have anything to worry about is that the card makers issue these cards make them quite durable. It would cost them millions of dollars a year to have to constantly be replacing cards that were being demagnetized. The black magnetic strip on the back goes through quite the process and is sealed such that it’s protected from a lot of these issues. And to be frank, the magnetic strips are rated much too high in term of “coercivity”. (it’s basically how resilient they are to being demagnetized – keep reading…)
Demagnetization…Science Is Cool
Ok, so now we turn to science. We want to know exactly what it is that might cause cards to be demagnetized in the first place. If we know what causes it maybe we can take some steps to avoid it. (if that’s even necessary)
Hands down, the best place on the ‘ol World Wide Web that discussed demagnetization is K&J Magnets. As they should be, they’re know for selling some of the world’s strongest magnets. If you’re super into magnets, please click the link above and do some leisurely reading. If you’re not and just want hit the highlights, see below:
- Basically, the magnetic strip on the back of the card stores digital data. This data is what tells the merchant who you are so they know what credit card to charge.
- Coercivity is simply a measurement of how resistant the magnet is to changes in its magnetization. That’s a mouthful. To put it simply:
- high-coercivity = difficult to demagnetized
- Low-coercivity = easy to demagnetize (hotel keys)
- Rare earth and permanent style magnets have the ability to wipe out credit cards super easily (these aren’t used in any wallets that we know of).
How to Prevent Cards from Being Demagnetized
So now that we know “how” it works, we have come up with a few steps to take in order to prevent it from happening to your cards:
- Carry Cash – Magnetic money clips are generally designed to hold cash. So consider using them for that instead of carrying around all of your cards. Luckily there are enough innovative wallet makers out there if they come up with awesome money clip/wallet designs to accommodate both.
- Sandwich Those Cards – If you do feel it necessary to carry cards with your magnetic money clip, try to sandwich them in between bills that your kids. The extra layers will help protect the magnetic strip on your cards.
- Separate Those Cards – Pay attention to the actual cards that you’re carrying in your wallet. If you’re traveling and staying at a hotel, it’s probably not wise to carry a hotel card inside your magnetic money clip. These cards are demagnetized and re-magnetized on a regular basis (on purpose – changing room numbers).
- Microchip & RFID Aren’t Affected – The good news with all of this? Most of our cards nowadays utilize some form of chip technology, whether it’s RFID and/or Microchip technology. Neither of these are affected by magnets.
The reality of the situation is this…it isn’t really something you have to worry about. Most of the quality wallet manufacturers out there utilize magnets that are the perfect strength for keeping your wallet together, but not so strong that they’ll ruin your cards. Now we’re not going to say that it’s never happened before because I’m sure that it has, but don’t let it keep you up at night.
Take a look here at our favorite magnetic money clips that are out there. We can promise you that these are safe to use.