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Russell H.
Russell H., Service Tech
Category: Consumer Electronics
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Experience:  8+ years of professional experience
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I was worried my credit card had germs on it so I ran it under

Customer Question

I was worried my credit card had germs on it so I ran it under hot water and then wiped it off with Kleenex about twenty minutes before using it. Is it possible I might have damaged the card machine or endangered future operators? The card seemed dry but there are raised areas under the numbers, etc. I inserted the card to use the chip and everything seemed fine.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Consumer Electronics
Expert:  Russell H. replied 2 years ago.
Hi, thank you for contacting My name is Russell. I will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

What is dangerous to the 'smart chip' (as included in a 'smart card') is either extremely high temperature, or physical breakage e.g. by bending, shock, etc.

As for the magnetic strip on a card... magnetism, and severe mechanical shock, both threaten it. Perhaps hot water might alter it too, but I am not certain... it depends also upon whether 'hot water' means scalding hot, or just hotter than tepid.

The ultimate test is, whether the card's functions still work: the magnetic strip still reads fine without multiple retries, and whether the smart chip still reads at all basically.

(The raised areas under the numbers that you mention, I cannot quite picture. Do you mean that the card is swelling up with having been washed, in spots?)

You have said you have tried the card and it works OK. I think that's ultimately most indicative. If it works now, it ought to work as reliably as any card in the future, provided it is not subjected to shock or magnetism, etc.

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