Can Magnets Damage Your Credit Cards?

There is speculation about the type of damage various magnets can do to your credit cards. Here are some answers to questions concerning magnets, credit cards and more.

Have you ever heard that magnets and cell phones can react to that magnetic strip on your credit card and make it nothing more than a small piece of plastic that is only useful for getting into locked doors? That may not be so far from the truth. Here are some things you should know about magnets and your credit cards.

Magnetic fields can destroy credit cards. According to Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, a physics professor at the University of Texas in Dallas, any magnetic field can damage your credit card’s magnetic strip. The larger the magnet’s force, the more data it can erase.

Cell phones can delete your credit card information. Although cell phones have relatively low magnetic fields, they are capable of deleting some or all of the information on your credit card depending on how long the two objects have been in contact with each other.

Leave your credit cards outside if you are having an MRI. An MRI machine has a huge magnetic field and it can render your credit cards utterly useless if you have them in the room while having an MRI. Bring a trusted friend or relative with you when you have the test so you can leave your credit cards far away from the magnetic fields.

Magnetic closures on purses can be bad news for your credit cards. Even a magnetic field as small as the closures on your purse can delete your credit card information. Leslie-Pelecky recalls an instance in which she carried her hotel card key in her purse which had a magnetic closure. The small magnet got too close to the card key and made it useless.

Your credit cards could demagnetize each other. Although Leslie-Pelecky says this can happen, it is highly unlikely. It is most likely that this could happen if your cards are together with the stripes facing each other. However, it would probably take a long time for the cards to become demagnetized as a result.

Scratches on the magnetic strip of the credit card can be a problem. Many people just assume that when their credit card stops working correctly, it is because it has become demagnetized. However, there are other possibilities, such as the fact that a scratch could make the card unusable. Always consider other possibilities before jumping to the conclusion that it became demagnetized.

Credit cards can be a great convenience, but you also have to be careful about how you keep them when you are not using them. Putting them in your wallet is ideal if you do not have any other magnetic forces in the same pocket or purse. Also, be sure to use purses and wallets with non-magnetic closures to avoid the risk of ruining your credit cards. It will save you a lot of headache and hassle in the long run.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

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The Advantages of Credit Cards over Debit Cards

There is an ongoing battle between those who sing the praises of credit cards and those who sing the praises of debit cards. Is one better than the other?

The argument over which is better – credit cards or debit cards – is hotly contested and probably will be as long as the both exist. They both have their advantages and their disadvantages, but many of those pros and cons simply depend on how you are with your money. Debit cards are better if you are not good at controlling your spending and if you need more discipline with paying your bills each month. However, credit cards are ideal if you have control of your spending and do not have a tendency to spend more than you can afford. Here are some other advantages of credit cards that you may enjoy.

The Grace Period
Grace periods are one benefit of using credit cards because, as the term implies, you have a few extra days to pay your credit card balance. If you are able to keep money in the bank, the grace period allows you to keep the money in the bank and gather a few extra days of interest before paying your bill. As long as you are careful, you can use this method to make your money work for you while still using your credit cards responsibly.

Fraud Protection
Credit cards offer a type of security that some debit cards do not provide. While some debit cards have fraud protection, credit cards typically offer better protection like zero liability or a maximum of $50 liability. You can also dispute purchases with your credit card company if the products you purchase are not satisfactory under some circumstances. Sometimes it is even easier to work out a solution to unsatisfactory merchandise if you used a credit card to pay for it. Some credit card companies even offer extra warranty protection for your purchases.

Rewards Programs
If you are careful with your credit card usage, you can take advantage of the rewards programs that many of them offer. Some credit card issuers offer one percent cash back on all your purchases while others may offer frequent flier miles, discounts at various businesses or other types of rewards just for using their card.

Credit cards can be a benefit to you if you use them correctly. However, it is up to you to be responsible with them and only charge as much as you can afford to pay off. Otherwise, a debit card may be your best bet.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.


College-Bound Students and Credit Cards

College-Bound Students and Credit Cards

The new credit card regulations are making it more difficult for college students to get credit. So what are some things parents are doing to give their college-aged kids flexibility with spending while teaching them to be responsible with their money?

With the new regulations placed on credit card companies, it is now more difficult for college-bound students to get this flexible option when they leave home. The new regulations state that anybody under the age of 21 must have a co-signer on the contract when they sign up for a new credit card or they must prove that they can make the payments. This is making many parents have to choose between helping their college-aged student get that piece of plastic that is handy in cases of emergency or if they will send them off without one.

The choice boils down to this: Will the student enter the real world with an understanding of how credit works or will they charge up a huge mountain of debt and cause damage to their credit and the parents’ credit as well? It’s a choice that calls the individual college student’s responsibility into question and each parent has to make this choice before sending their young adults away.

The new regulations definitely throw a monkey wrench into some of the plans that credit card companies have. I know when I was in college, I couldn’t walk through the student center without being bombarded by several credit card companies trying to get me to sign up for an account in exchange for a free t-shirt. As a result, 84 percent of undergraduates in 2008 had at least one credit card, which is an 8 percent increase from 2004. About 50 percent of the students surveyed had at least 4 credit cards with an average debt of $4,100 by the time the graduated. But if the students have to be at least 21 years of age or have a provable income, it won’t be as easy to get them to sign up these days and the companies may have to search for other recruiting techniques aimed at a slightly older demographic.

The decision is a tough one for parents. They know the importance of building a decent credit history and it’s best to start young. However, many college students think that credit cards are free money and they tend to use their credit cards for unnecessary expenses even when they have no means of paying the balance each month.

Many parents are choosing to give their college students a credit card that is linked to the parent’s account. That way, they can monitor their spending closely and help the student learn responsible use of a credit card. Since the students know their parents are monitoring every purchase, they are less likely to use it for unnecessary expenses. It also helps build up the student’s credit for the future.

Do you have kids that will be leaving for college any time soon? Or do you already have kids in college? What are you doing or what do you plan to do in order to teach them to use their credit responsibly?

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are those of the author, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any bank advertiser, card issuer, airline or hotel.

Advertising Disclosure: This site may be compensated for hosting offers.