What to Do With a Wet Credit Card

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You know what to expect from a wet cellphone: Trouble. But what about a credit card?

It mostly seems like a piece of plastic, but we know they have a magnetic strip, and some cards have a tap-and-go feature. Isn’t there some electronic wizardry susceptible to water inside?

Your card’s not at risk if it gets wet, LowCards.com says. “If you dropped a credit card machine in the water, then you’d have a problem,” it says. But the magnets aren’t affected, and the worst-case scenario is that the clear coating will start to peel off.

You should be able to dry it off and use it immediately without any issues, the site says. But there are some situations where you wouldn’t be able to — for instance, after running it through the washer and dryer. The water isn’t a big deal, but being tossed around and possibly bent could ruin it. If a card gets bent too much, the crease of a fold “interrupts the magnetic strip, taking away your card’s identity,” LowCards says. Heat from the dryer could also mess it up.

Even if your card comes out OK and smelling like fresh linen, it’s not something you want to repeat — it’s just speeding up the natural wear, making the front harder for you to read and the back harder for machines to. If you need to replace the card, most companies will issue a replacement for free, LowCards says.

By the way, if you do drop your cellphone in the water, it may not be game over. Check out the video below for ways you might be able to save it.

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