The black strip on the back of your credit card is magnetized and holds important information about your account. Store clerks swipe this strip to access your account information and allow you to make a purchase. If the strip becomes damaged or demagnetized, you will no longer be able to make quick "swipe and go" purchases. You can protect the strip on your card by storing it properly.
Do not store your credit card loosely in your purse or pants pocket. Dirt, grit, keys, coins and other items can scratch the magnetic strip, and eventually, the strip will no longer work.
If you store your card in your wallet, store all your credit cards in the same direction. Do not store it back to back with another credit or debit card. Placing cards with the magnetic strips facing each other can demagnetize the strips on both cards.
Keep your card in a safe, dry place--preferably a card protection sleeve. Your bank or credit card company may provide sleeves for its cardholders. If not, you can purchase a protective sleeve online or use an old hotel key card sleeve. Make sure the sleeve is clean and store it in a safe, dry place away from dirt and grime.
Keep your card away from magnetic objects that can demagnetize the strip on your card and erase important information. These magnetic objects include magnetic clasps and buttons on wallets, security screening machines, magnetic anti-theft clips placed on items in stores, cell phones and magnetic jewelry.
Even when stored properly, your card's magnetic strip eventually will wear out from use. At that point, you will have to obtain a replacement card.
Traci Bridges is a veteran newspaper editor and reporter. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in print journalism from The University of Alabama. She began writing for the "Morning News," a daily newspaper in South Carolina, in 1998. Since then, her work has appeared in several other publications including the "Winston-Salem Journal," "Tampa Tribune" and "AARP Magazine."