Ways To Protect Your Proximity Cards from Getting Damaged

Ways To Protect Your Proximity Cards from Getting Damaged

by Mike Boehm on June 26, 2023

Proximity access technology has been growing rapidly in recent years. Proximity technology is used nearly ubiquitously in credit cards, hotel key cards, and many companies, with 26 bit proximity cards (also referred to as H10301 cards) being the most common format. These 26 bit proximity cards contain an antenna (connected to some internal circuitry) that allows the card to communicate to card readers with a simple tap. With increased dependence on this exciting technology, however, also comes the need to protect these cards from being damaged.

Common Ways 26 bit Proximity Cards Get Damaged

Though 26 bit proximity cards have revolutionized the way the corporate world operates, they are not indestructible and can be permanently damaged through a variety of simple mistakes. These include, but are not limited to:

  • putting the card through the washing machine
  • leaving the card in direct sunlight (e.g., on the car dash) for too long
  • punching a hole in the card in order to attach it to a lanyard
  • severely bending the card; most commonly, people do this by leaving the card in their back pocket and sitting on it, or by using their card as an ice-scraper for their car
  • accidently exposing the card to harsh cleaners and chemicals (e.g., nail polish remover, isopropyl alcohol, etc.)
  • demagnetizing the card by keeping it in close proximity to magnets for too long
  • scratching the magnetic strip on the card
  • exposing the card to a strong electrostatic discharge (ESD)

All of these simple mistakes damage either the antenna or the internal circuitry of the 26 bit proximity card, thereby preventing it from being accessed by a card reader.

 How to Prevent Your 26 bit Proximity Card from Getting Damaged

One of the simplest ways you can protect your 26 bit proximity cards is by keeping the above list in mind and ensuring you do not make any of those mistakes. Never keep your cards in your back pocket, check your pockets before you wash your clothes, keep the cards somewhere safe when you deal with harsh chemicals, never punch holes in your cards, etc. If you manage a business that uses 26 bit proximity cards, be sure to educate your employees on this subject as well.

Additionally, you can purchase a standard badge holder to protect your cards. Some badge holders are designed to protect cards from UV rays, others are waterproof, and still others have rigid designs to prevent your cards from getting bent or scratched. Badge holders are a very simple yet effective preventative tool that you can use to make sure that your 26 bit proximity cards stay safe and in working condition.


In short, because 26 bit proximity cards have become so widespread, it is important that you take measures to protect your cards from getting damaged. Avoid making the mistakes outlined above and take the extra step to protect your cards with badge holders. Doing so will ensure that your 26 bit proximity cards are always in good, working condition.