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Emmarc has brought its products & services to the media of cards. This has generated procedures & products for the magnetic swipe and smartcard industry & also users alike. ... Contaminants accumulate in card devices thereby causing problems for the user, system performance and data. KleenKards will prevent and in many instances recover poor system and card performance ...(more)

KleenKard #EMM101S-10
KleenKards for magnetic swipe and smart card readers in sachets.

Latest news alert .......... cleaning card disaster

Do you get what you pay for ?

A checkout girl, working in a large UK multi-national supermarket chain, spotted the fact that their POS card readers were always getting problems when swiping in the clients card. Often having to stop and enter the card details manually. Although she was always cleaning the card readers the problems never went away. We were asked for our comments. A batch sample of the stores unused cleaning cards was taken from their on-site customer care desk. Our disturbing findings and results are shown below.


  • In conclusion :- This incorrect cleaning card, manufactured the wrong way with the wrong materials and with the wrong instructions are currently being used to clean type II magnetic swipe card POS machines. The cleaning cards caused the card errors, and had cross pollinated severe contamination to many of the card systems within the store.

  • The batch samples, from the store, were taken at random. They turned out to be cleaning cards using IPA in sachets and made in the USA. They were packed in 50 sachets per polybag upon which was a label :- "swipe cleaning cards" The card sachet itself had "Encoded" printed on the outside of each sachet,  followed in 7 languages were the words "magnetic head cleaning card"
  • very confusing and misleading to the non-technical people who might have purchased them. This was further compounded by manufacturers instructions, as shown in the above picture "A", which clearly shows they were to be used for cleaning magnetic swipe card readers.

  • Contamination was bleeding into all areas around the magnetic strips on all cards area "B". [Adhesive used to attach the magnetic stripe being dissolved by the IPA].

    The magnetic strip had started to break down. Particles of tape debris had already contaminated the cleaning card. In addition severe binder breakdown of the magnetic strip itself was taking place and Oxide particles came completely away from the polyester tape base. "C" & "E" Contamination would be directly past into the card device during normal use.

  • In addition cleaning could not take place within most modern magnetic swipe devices, because the magnetic strips placed on each corner would inhibit contact for the equipment guides and card reader head area, compounding the contamination into the most important areas of the card device.

  • Although described as encoded, these cleaning cards would still not be suitable for ATM cleaning, even taking away the severe problems described above. The encoded strip on the cleaning card is used for access to the ATM recording head. The four magnetic stripes are adhered upon only one side of the card. Should they be used in an ATM device in reverse mode, the card would enter the post box but would not reach the read/write head. Note:-The magnetic stripe for ATM cleaning cards should only be on location "D" and placed upon on both and opposite sides of the cleaning card.
  • Many ATM's and cash machines have the smart card reader placed within the same area and so the card could travel onto the smart card contacts. We did not test for 3track encoding being present on the magnetic strip.

  • This contaminating cleaning card could also have been entered into the post slot of Chip and Pin devices. This would cause additional contamination issues and very serious recovery problems, as the later devices like these cannot be replaced by simply being unplugged and removed from the POS network and system.