Posts tagged ‘reader’

Do Hotel Key Cards Contain Personal Info?

By Chad Upton | Editor

I’ve been saving hotel key cards for years because I want to see exactly what is on them.

Years ago, somebody told me that hotel room access cards contained personal info and credit card data. The rumor was that this info was necessary for you to charge items to your room during your stay.

I recently got my hands on a magnetic card reader and started swiping all my old cards. The results fit into three categories.

1. 77% of all the cards could not be read at all. This should not be a surprise to anyone who has ever stayed in a hotel with magnetic card keys; some are notoriously poor at holding their magnetic charge. Another reason they may appear blank is that some systems use non-standard data encoding which make it difficult for an ISO card reader to extract information. Whether the charge is weak, distorted or proprietary, specialized card readers may be able to extract data from these cards. Still, that data would likely fall into one of the two following categories. (more…)

February 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm 13 comments


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