How to Flatten a Credit Card

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Knowing how to fix a bent credit card could save you a trip to the bank. All you need are a few basic items, such as a hairdryer and some heavy books. But first, check if your debit or credit card is working. As long as the chip or black magnetic stripe is intact, you should be able to use the card.

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The best way to flatten a credit card is to use an iron or hairdryer. If the card is only slightly bent, place it under a pile of books or try to flatten it out with your hands.

Double-Check Your Credit Card

More consumers are choosing credit, debit or prepaid cards over cash, reports the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. In 2019, the average American held three credit cards. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. Most types of cards expire every two or three years and must be renewed or replaced. The expiration date is meant to keep your account secure and protect against fraud.

Like most goods, debit and credit cards are vulnerable to damage. For example, a chip card may stop working after going through a washing machine. Likewise, scratching a magnetic stripe card may result in permanent damage. A warped or bent credit card may or may not work, depending on the condition of its microchip or magnetic stripe. In either situation, you may need to replace the card long before its expiration date.

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However, most cards can withstand harsh daily use. If your debit or credit card is bent, check its smart chip or magnetic stripe for signs of damage. Try to flatten it out with your hands and then go to the nearest ATM. If that doesn't work, there are a couple of things you can do before calling your bank. Read on to find out how to fix a bent credit card without causing further damage.

Fixing a Bent Credit Card

First, try using an iron to flatten your debit or credit card. Place the card on a cutting board and then cover it with a kitchen towel or bed sheet. Set your iron to the lowest temperature and move it over the card for 20 to 30 seconds. Use a back and forth motion, putting slight pressure on the magnetic stripe. Check your card and repeat the above steps if necessary.

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If you're not in a rush, place the card underneath a bookcase, closet or other heavy objects. For example, you can put it on your desk and cover it with a pile of books. Leave it for three or four days. Another option is to iron it and then place it inside a book for an hour or so. Repeat if necessary.

Still wondering how to unbend a debit card? Here's another trick: place the card on a flat surface and then use a hairdryer to heat it up. Turn off the hairdryer after 30 seconds and try to flatten out the card. Most types of cards are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material is thermoplastic, so it becomes moldable when exposed to heat, explains the American Chemistry Council.

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Unfortunately, none of these methods will work if the microchip or magnetic stripe is damaged. In this case, the best thing you can do is to contact your bank and request a new card. Cut up your old card into small pieces and dispose of them in two or more trash bags to prevent fraudsters from stealing your data.

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