There's a bit of paranoia about whether payWave/PayPass contactless payments technology is fully secure and some people are willing to disable those in their cards. This post and this post explain how to damage the antenna by punching a small hole in the card near its edge.

This alteration doesn't compromise other functions - the magnetic stripe, the chip, the signature, the embossed text all remain intact. There is slight chance that this shorts the antenna wires and this in turn causes the chip to malfunction but let's ignore this for a while.

The serious issue here is that it's actually an intentional card alteration. And alteration of payment media may formally deem it invalid. And even if there's some line in the regulations that it doesn't invalidate the card it can get bank personnel interested - if the cardholder ever gives them such card they may suspect fraudulent alteration and this can cause consequences.

Would such alteration deem the card invalid? What consequences should the cardholder expect?


You're concerned about two things:

  1. Whether it renders the card legally invalid - the answer is no, it doesn't.

  2. Whether the cashier may suspect it is forged and refuse to accept it - the answer is yes, this can definitely happen.

  • You might want to discuss from the point of view of the issuer. – Andy Dec 27 '14 at 0:57
  • @Andy I don't think issuers really care. If you call them complaining that your card wasn't accepted because you punched a hole in it they'll just offer to send you a replacement, and otherwise tell you to deal with it since its your problem. – littleadv Dec 27 '14 at 1:52
  • They might state explicitly that altering the card voids it. I know most say the card is void if the signature area is damaged. If they do its likely all merchants would reject the card, not just some. – Andy Dec 27 '14 at 2:13
  • @Andy most merchants won't even look at it or care. Regardless of what the issuer might explicitly state. If it goes through as approved - they're happy. – littleadv Dec 27 '14 at 2:25

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