Magnetic stripe key cards are widespread in old-fashioned hotel locks, and many older hotels still use this retro magnetic card to open hotel locks. It’s the key to your room (and to your sanity if you’ve been locked out while trying to relax) and helps keep you safe.
But what happens when the magnetic key cards stop working? If it stops working, you can get a new one from the front desk or concierge. But what if it’s just lost some of its magnetism?
The demagnetized key card can make it hard for the card reader at your door to recognize the card, which means you’ll be stuck in an endless loop of opening and closing and cursing and trying again until you finally give up reception.
Well, worry no more! Here are some simple ways to remagnetize your hotel key card, so your vacation doesn’t become a disaster.
What caused the hotel key card to be demagnetized?
Are you wondering how to remagnetize a hotel key card? The answer is simple.
The hotel key card is plastic and subject to wear and tear. The magnetic stripe on the hotel key card was demagnetized due to the following reasons:
Magnetic cards have been used for a long time, causing magnetic stripe degradation
The hotel key card is not kept in a safe place, which may result in dust accumulation on both sides of the card. If your card cannot be reprogrammed after washing it, please check whether any dust has accumulated on both sides of your magnetic stripe cards.
Wear and tear of plastic material in which magnetic cards made of
Magnetic information in a magnetic strip may be erased or damaged by exposure to moisture, heat (direct sunlight), physical damage, or other means that can cause its permanent loss of magnetism.
Why does the magnetic strip on a hotel key card mess up so quickly, whereas a Visa card will last me for years?
The magnetic stripe on a hotel room key card is not as strong as on your credit card.
Credit cards are made of a more durable material than hotel key cards, so it takes longer for them to wear out.
The magnetic stripe in a credit card lasts much longer than in a hotel key card because it’s used less often and isn’t swiped every time you enter or exit your room at the end of each day.
Credit cards are more expensive to replace than hotel key cards. This is because the magnetic strip on your credit card is more robust and will not wear down as quickly. Plus, you use your credit card more often than your hotel key, so you can accumulate more data and make more purchases before it becomes worn out.
What tools will you need to remagnetize a hotel key card?
A demagnetized key card: This is one of the essential tools to remagnetize a hotel key card. If your magnetic key card has been demagnetized, it will not be able to be read by the hotel’s computer. This means that your hotel room door may not open for you!
Magnetic Key Card Programmer or Card Writer: A magnetic key card programmer is another tool for remagnetizing a hotel room door lock. A programmer allows you to write information onto your electronic cards so that they can be used as keys again in their reader slot at the front desk of your hotel or motel.
A new magnetic key card. If you’re planning to keep using the same hotel, getting a new one from them might be easier. If you want to use your old one, ensure it’s not damaged or outdated before proceeding.
How to remagnetize a hotel key card?
Remagnetizing a hotel key card is similar to programming a key card. Here’s how it goes:
Prepare a magnetic key card programmer and a new magnetic key card
Find an excellent magnetic key card similar to your hotel’s. If you’re unsure what type to get, ask the clerk at the front desk or call your hotel directly. You’ll also need a blank card of the same kind. You can buy these online or at most office supply stores; they’re usually easy to find if you look around in the right places.
Copy all the information from an excellent magnetic key card onto a new blank using a copied machine (usually done by running it through an inkjet printer). Be sure not to get wet ink on your fingers or anything else—you don’t want streaks!
The new magnetic key card must match your old design, size, and color. If not, you should change to another room without problems as long as vacancies are available. Otherwise, you may have difficulty getting into your room even though you have changed rooms through management intervention (management intervention will cost money).
How to avoid key cards being demagnetized?
As you can see, a lot can go wrong with a key card. Here are some tips for making sure none of this happens to you:
Keep your key card in a plastic bag when not in use.
Do not bend or fold the key card.
Please do not drop your key card on hard surfaces as this may damage it and make it harder for the reader to read from it (this also decreases any electronic device).
Please avoid using your magnetic stripe hotel room access cards near mobile phones or other devices that contain magnets, as they could demagnetize them without you even knowing it!
keep all cards in their original packaging;
please do not leave them out in direct sunlight because heat affects their ability to work correctly.
Try not to keep everything together when traveling so that nothing gets lost; if possible, try storing things separately so they’re easier to find later if needed (like car keys/bags, etc.)
After you learn how to remagnetize a hotel key card, it’s easy to keep your card working. You’ll want to take care of your key as a credit card. If you don’t, the next time you try to use it with a worn-out magnetic strip and no replacement available, you may be stuck waiting in line at the front desk while they print another copy for you.
Vincent Zhu has 10 years of smart lock system experience and specializes in offering hotel door lock systems and home door lock system solutions from design, configuration, installation, and troubleshooting. Whether you want to install an RFID keyless door lock for your hotel, a keyless keypad door lock for your home door, or have any other questions and troubleshooting requests about smart door locks, don't hesitate to contact me at any time.