When EMV isn't the problem...

For just about anything you want to get off your chest about credit cards.
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CarefulBuilder14
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When EMV isn't the problem...

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:14 pm

I was getting some groceries today and swiped my BCE. I got an error message that the card couldn't be read. I assumed the machines now required chipped Amex cards to have the chip read. I looked around but couldn't find a place to insert the card.

The cashier saw what was going on, took my card, and encased it in a plastic bag. She then swiped it and the machine read it through the plastic bag without any trouble. She explained the machine was just really old and in need of replacement.

Sometimes the issues we expect and talk about just aren't the ones we actually encounter.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when


popamode72
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Postby popamode72 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:17 pm

Did you make this purchase at Wal-Mart by any chance?
Macy's TLs (21k), Lowes (17k), CSP (10k), Sam's Club (10k), Nordstrom (5k), AARP (4.2k), Freedom (3k), Discover (1.5k), Quicksilver (2k), BoA (3k), Barclaycard Arrival (2.5k), Amazon Store (6k), Paypal (4.9k), Sam's Club MC (3.6k), Walmart MC (1.2k)

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CarefulBuilder14
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Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:22 pm

popamode72 wrote:Did you make this purchase at Wal-Mart by any chance?


No, this purchase was at a Stop & Shop.
Wallet: Prestige CSP SchwabPlat Freedom It Hyatt SallieMae AAPlat
SD: Arrival BrooksBros BCE ED IHG
Letting new accounts cool off since May
Really not sure what I'll add next or when

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Vattené
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Postby Vattené » Thu Nov 20, 2014 9:03 pm

I used to work at McDonald's and we had to do that all the time. I never knew why it helped, but it was the go-to move when a card didn't go through right away.
-Vattené
FICO-8:
EX - 809 (11/16) | TU - 803 (11/16)
Primary Cards:
American Express EveryDay - $20,000 (10/14)
Discover it - $23,000 (2/14)
AU on Barclay Sallie Mae - $10,000 (8/15)
plus several store accounts of varying usefulness now

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lobbythis
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Postby lobbythis » Thu Nov 20, 2014 10:46 pm

Vattené wrote:I used to work at McDonald's and we had to do that all the time. I never knew why it helped, but it was the go-to move when a card didn't go through right away.


The black stripe on the back side of the credit card is made up of a bunch of tiny magnetic particles bound in plastic. The particles are arranged in magnetic and non-magnetic “zones” to encode the data (your account number, expiration date, etc.) that the card reader on the register needs to process the transaction. When you swipe the card, the card reader reads the information by detecting the changes between the zones. For the transaction to work, the info needs to get from the card to the reader to the computer without any errors.

The strip is pretty delicate, and the data on it can be corrupted by exposing it to a strong magnet or scratching it. Damage can also occur gradually with use and carrying the card around in your wallet. Over time, some of the magnetic particles can get dragged out of position in a process called smearing. If enough magnetic bits move into a non-magnetic space to create a weak signal, the data gets corrupted and the card reader gets an error.

With just a little bit of magnetic material in them, the contaminated non-magnetic zones still have a much lower magnetic strength than the parts that are supposed to magnetized. Increasing the distance between the card reader and the corrupted zones is enough to get the reader to read those weak parts as non-magnetized again. A plastic bag makes a great spacer. Wrapped around the card, the bag basically mutes the corrupted parts of the magnetic stripe so the reader is presented with the data as its supposed to be.



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