As identification cards and ID readers become more sophisticated, it’s important that you use common sense when it comes to protecting your cards. Most of today’s high-tech, electronic versions of the traditional personal identification card (driver’s license, work badge, etc.) include not only a photo, but also a magnetic stripe and/or a smart card chip.
Yes, plastic cards are very durable and can last for years, as long as you take good care of them. When you don’t, you may end up forking over the bucks for a new one or, in the worst case scenario, find yourself studying up on identity theft. To avoid both situations – and those somewhere in between – I recommend these helpful card care tips for all your ID badges.
Protecting Your Electronic Identification Card (and Your Identity)
First, let’s start with the obvious: don’t fold or bend your cards. For us guys, that also includes finding a better place to store them than in a wallet we sit on because the pressure often distorts their shape. Besides, I’ve heard sitting on a fat wallet isn’t good for your back.
Here are some other no-no’s:
* Don’t run them through a washing machine or the dryer.
* Don’t use them in an ATM machine or a mag stripe reader, unless they were designed for that purpose. This can destroy the data contained on the card.
* Don’t store them next to magnets.
* Don’t carry them in the same pocket with keys and coins.
* Don’t punch holes in your card.
Second, safeguard your identification cards by only carrying them with you when necessary. If you need them regularly, get a sturdy protective sleeve that you can confidently secure on your person or in your purse.
Finally, when your identification card is no longer of use to you, destroy it properly. Of course, scissors are the most common way, but I have heard of people using lawn mowers, microwaves, blowtorches and more (although those seem a bit extreme). Be sure to completely eradicate any photos, numbers, or letters, as well as the mag stripe and, if necessary, the smart chip. You can even go the extra mile and place the pieces in separate bags of garbage.
Read my previous blog post about specific features that can make your plastic identification cards even more secure.