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Credit Card Chip Not Working? Here’s What To Do

If you’ve ever experienced the frustration of your credit card chip not working, you’re not alone. The convenience and security provided by chip-enabled cards have become essential in our modern era of shopping.

In this blog post, we will explore the possible reasons behind a malfunctioning chip, so you can employ smart strategies to prevent future issues.

We’ll also help you troubleshoot these issues, whether they happen due to wear and tear, extreme heat, water damage, dirt buildup, human error, or technology issues outside your control.

Let’s dive into the steps you can take when faced with your credit card chip malfunctioning.

What Is a Credit Card Chip?

The introduction of credit card chips, also known as EMV chips, revolutionized how we make payments using credit cards.

These small, embedded computer chips provide an added layer of security by generating a unique transaction code for each purchase.

In this section, we will explore the purpose and functionality of credit card chips and their advantages over traditional magnetic stripe cards.

Keep Reading: Parts of a Credit Card

How Does a Credit Card Chip Work?

Unlike magnetic stripe cards, debit and credit card chips utilize advanced technology to encrypt transaction data and protect against fraudulent activity.

When you insert your credit card’s microchip into a payment terminal, it establishes a secure connection with the terminal.

Once connected, the credit card chip creates a unique code for the transaction, known as a token. This token and other encrypted data, such as the cardholder’s information are sent to the payment processor for verification and approval.

The credit card chip technology uses EMV, which stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa. EMV chips utilize dynamic authentication, which enhances security by generating a unique transaction code for each payment.

This code changes every time you purchase, making it extremely difficult for fraudsters to replicate or access your sensitive data.

Why Your Credit Card Chip May Not Be Working

If you’ve ever experienced your credit card chip not working when you try to make a purchase, you’re not alone. There can be various reasons why a credit card chip stops functioning properly.

In this section, we’ll explore some of the common causes behind this issue and what you can do to resolve it.

1. Wear and Tear

One of the most common reasons a credit card chip stops working is everyday wear and tear. As you frequently use your credit card, you risk scratching or damaging the chip.

While scratches on the plastic may not pose a problem, any damage to the chip can affect its functionality. So, the more you handle and use your card, the greater the chance of wear and tear impacting the chip.

2. Extreme Heat or Water Damage

Exposing your credit card to extreme temperatures or water can also lead to chip malfunctions. For instance, leaving your card in a hot car or accidentally spilling liquids on your wallet may damage the chip and render it unreadable.

When you attempt to use the card at a payment terminal, you may receive a message stating that the card cannot be read. Therefore, keeping your card protected from such conditions is important to prevent any potential damage to the chip.

3. Accumulated Dirt or Grime

Like any frequently used item, your credit card can accumulate dirt and grime over time. Considering how often we use our chip cards, it’s easy to understand how debris and grime can build up on the chip’s surface.

The accumulation of dirt can interfere with the card reader or point-of-sale terminal’s ability to read the chip and process the transaction, causing the card to be unusable temporarily.

To avoid this, keep your card clean and free from excessive grime that can hinder its functionality. If the issue persists after you clean the microchip, ask the retailer to inspect their credit card machine’s functionality.

What to Do If Your Credit Card Chip Isn’t Working

If you find yourself in a situation where your credit card chip is not working, you may feel puzzled and inconvenienced. However, there are several solutions you can try before resorting to frustration.

In this section, we will explore some effective methods to address a non-working credit card chip.

What To Do If Your Credit Card Chip Is Not Working

1. Check for Visible Damage

One possible reason for a non-functioning credit card chip is visible damage. Over time, the chip can become scratched or damaged due to regular use or mishandling. To determine if visible damage is the cause, carefully inspect the chip for any signs of scratches or physical impairment.

If you notice any damage, such as scratches or cracks on the chip, this may be the root of the problem. In such cases, you should contact your bank or card issuer to request a replacement card. They will guide you through obtaining a new card with a functioning chip.

2. Clean the Chip

Sometimes, a non-working credit card chip may simply be dirty or covered in grime. Considering how frequently we use our chip cards, it is common that dirt and debris can accumulate on the chip’s surface, hindering its functionality. Cleaning the chip can be a simple yet effective solution in such cases.

To clean the chip, ensure you have a microfiber or a soft, lint-free cloth. Gently wipe the surface of the chip, making sure to clean off any visible dirt or grime. Avoid cleaning your card chip with harsh chemicals or rough materials that can do more damage to the chip.

After cleaning the chip, attempt to use your card again to see if the issue has been resolved. If the chip still does not work, proceed to the next solution.

3. Try Swiping Your Card

If your credit card chip is not working, another workaround is to use the magnetic strip on the back of the card instead. Many payment terminals can still read the magnetic strip, providing an alternative method for making purchases until you can replace your card.

To swipe the card, insert it into the payment terminal with the magnetic strip facing downward. Follow the prompts on the terminal to complete your transaction. It’s important to note that while this solution may work temporarily, it is still recommended to address the issue with your card’s chip for long-term convenience and security.

4. Contact the Bank or Card Issuer

If none of the previous solutions have resolved the issue, it may be time to reach out to your bank or card issuer for assistance. They can provide valuable guidance and support in troubleshooting the problem with your credit card chip.

Contacting your bank or card issuer allows them to review your account and card details, helping identify any underlying issues affecting the chip’s functionality. They may suggest specific steps to resolve the problem or initiate the card replacement process.

How to Prevent Credit Card Chip Issues

1. Handle Your Card with Care

To ensure your credit card chip works smoothly, handling the card with care is essential. Avoid bending, scratching, or exposing the chip to sharp objects. Treat it as a delicate component that requires gentle handling. Taking precautions and being mindful of how you handle the card can prevent potential chip issues.

2. Protecting Your Card from Extreme Conditions

Extreme temperatures can adversely affect the functioning of your credit card chip. It’s important to protect the card from both excessive heat and cold. Avoid leaving the card in your car on hot summer days or in freezing conditions during winter. Such extreme temperatures can cause the chip to malfunction, leading to issues when making transactions. Store your card in a safe and moderate environment.

3. Regularly Clean the Chip

Regular cleaning of the chip is crucial to maintaining its functionality. Over time, the chip may accumulate dust, dirt, or debris, interfering with its performance. To clean the chip, gently wipe it with a soft, lint-free cloth or antibacterial wipe.

Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive materials, or items that may shed, such as cotton swabs or cotton balls, as they may further damage the chip. Keeping the chip clean minimizes the chances of encountering issues while using your credit card.

4. Keep Your Card Away from Magnets

Credit card chips aren’t sensitive to magnetic fields, but your magstripe is. Exposure to magnets can disrupt their proper functioning. Keep your credit card away from strong magnetic sources such as speakers, magnets on phone cases, or magnetic closures on wallets. Magnetic interference can lead to errors with the magnetic stripe––leaving you with few resources if chip card technology fails.

Following these tips can prevent credit card chip issues and ensure a seamless payment experience. Handle your card carefully, protect it from extreme conditions, regularly clean the chip, and keep it away from magnets to maintain optimal chip functionality.

Keep Reading: The Pros & Cons of Credit Cards

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you still use your credit card if the chip is broken?

If the chip on your credit card is broken, you may still be able to use it for certain transactions. However, the chip is an important security feature that helps protect against card fraud, so getting a replacement card as soon as possible is advisable.

Without a functioning chip, you may rely on the magnetic stripe on the back of your card, which is less secure.

Merchants have varying policies regarding broken chips, and some may refuse to accept the card. Contacting your credit card issuer for guidance. Requesting a replacement card is always best to avoid furniture issues.

Do magnets ruin credit card chips?

Magnets do not ruin credit card chips. The belief that magnets can harm credit card chips is a common misconception. Chip card technology resists magnetic fields, so they’re not easily damaged by magnets.

The chip inside the credit card is protected by layers of materials that help shield it from external magnetic interference. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that a normal magnet encountered in everyday life would negatively impact the functionality of a credit card chip.

Why is my credit card declining when I have money?

If your credit card is declining despite sufficient funds, there could be a few reasons for this issue. Firstly, there may be a hold or a credit limit on your card, preventing the transaction from going through.

Secondly, there might be an issue with the card, such as expired or damaged. Additionally, it is essential to ensure that you are entering the correct information, such as the card number, expiration date, and CVV code.

Lastly, certain retailers may trigger fraud protection measures, causing the card to decline. To resolve this problem, contacting your credit card issuer or bank will provide you with the necessary assistance. You can find your issuer’s contact information on the back of the card.

How do you fix a credit card chip that has fallen off?

To fix a credit card chip that has fallen off, there are a few steps you can follow. Firstly, locate the chip and make sure it is clean and undamaged. Then, using a small amount of super glue, carefully apply it to the back of the chip.

Next, align the chip with the designated spot on the credit card and press firmly for a few seconds to ensure it adheres properly. Once the glue has dried, test the card in a chip-enabled payment terminal to confirm the chip is functioning correctly.


If you find yourself in a situation where your credit card chip is not working, there are several potential reasons for this issue.

It could be due to wear and tear, extreme heat or water damage, dirt buildup on the chip surface, or accidental demagnetization. Fortunately, there are solutions you can try to address these problems. You can clean the chip, swipe your card instead, or take measures to prevent future damage to the chip.

If your card still isn’t working at this point, you can verify your card information, confirm the credit card machine is working properly, or request a replacement card.

By being aware of the potential causes and taking appropriate actions, you can ensure that your credit card chip stays in working condition, allowing for seamless and secure checkout for your everyday shopping.

The best thing you can take away from this post is keeping your card clean and away from the elements to avoid unexpected issues.

Grant Sabatier is a co-founder and CEO of MMG Media Group, which owns Grant is also the Creator of Millennial Money and Author of the International Bestseller Financial Freedom (Penguin Random House), which has been translated into fifteen languages. Dubbed the “Millennial Millionaire” by CNBC, Grant went from $2.26 to a millionaire in 5 years, reaching financial independence at the age of 30. Grant has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, BBC, CNBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Money Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, the Rachael Ray Show, and many others. He cares passionately about sharing his story to inspire others to build a life they love, reminding everyone that time is more valuable than money, and building cool stuff.
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