Contactless payment card failure mode.

Go To Last Post
20 posts / 0 new
Author
Message
#1
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

My contactless debit cards seem to stop working after a while. Not for any account related reason, just functional failure. My AmEx card degraded quite slowly, there were a couple of stores where it continued to work long after it was unrecognised in all others.
I'm curious as to what might be going on, since there's no battery, or mag stripe to be erased.
Googling brings up lots of irrelevant stuff about resetting PINs and the like, but not much about actusl electronic failure.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Are you keeping them somewhere that they're exposed to "unusual" electro-magnetic fields ... ?

 

Is it just you, or are colleagues / neighbours / family members similarly affected ?

 

EDIT

 

There's not a dodgy old telly somewhere near you, is there: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wa...surprise

Top Tips:

  1. How to properly post source code - see: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment... - also how to properly include images/pictures
  2. "Garbage" characters on a serial terminal are (almost?) invariably due to wrong baud rate - see: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/serial-communication
  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
  4. Difference between a crystal, and a crystal oscillatorhttps://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  5. When your question is resolved, mark the solution: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  6. Beginner's "Getting Started" tips: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
Last Edited: Fri. Sep 25, 2020 - 10:29 AM
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

John_A_Brown wrote:
I'm curious as to what might be going on, since there's no battery, or mag stripe to be erased.

 

You need to shake the card for a few seconds every few weeks to recharge the capacitor in them.  Just like these flashlights(torches):

 

https://ecocentricnow.com/produc...

 

Jim

I would rather attempt something great and fail, than attempt nothing and succeed - Fortune Cookie

 

"The critical shortage here is not stuff, but time." - Johan Ekdahl

 

"Step N is required before you can do step N+1!" - ka7ehk

 

"If you want a career with a known path - become an undertaker. Dead people don't sue!" - Kartman

"Why is there a "Highway to Hell" and only a "Stairway to Heaven"? A prediction of the expected traffic load?"  - Lee "theusch"

 

Speak sweetly. It makes your words easier to digest when at a later date you have to eat them ;-)  - Source Unknown

Please Read: Code-of-Conduct

Atmel Studio6.2/AS7, DipTrace, Quartus, MPLAB, RSLogix user

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

The slow degrading might suggest ESD or in this case more likely EMP/EMI issues.

Getting very high energy levels on the card, and with that slowly destroying the receiver input.

with some stores having low power emitting readers you fail early, with stores that have a reader that is sending a high current you can go on longer.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1

They live in a wallet in my jeans/shorts back pocket most of the time. There are some powerful emmisions around that area after a night on the black stuff, but not of an electromagnetic variety.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

sounds like a capacitor leakage failure, time to "re-cap" your card! devil

 

Jim

Personally, I thought contactless cards were a stupid idea for financial transactions!

but then I'm an old guy, what do I know.

 

Keys to wealth:

Invest for cash flow, not capital gains!

Wealth is attracted, not chased! 

Income is proportional to how many you serve!

 

Last Edited: Fri. Sep 25, 2020 - 01:34 PM
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Predicting Field Failure From Small Environmental Stresses

by Douglas C. Smith

[page 2]

Abstract

...

Accumulating damage has been demonstrated from thousands of very small ESD events resulting in system failure.

...

via http://emcesd.com/tt2019/tt061719.htm

Douglas also has seminars and, IIRC, webinars on wireless devices.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

laugh

Is the wallet of synthetic material or natural material (leather)?

Some smart cards are parked in a sleeve with a static dissipative property.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

John_A_Brown wrote:
They live in a wallet in my jeans/shorts back pocket

So do mine.

 

But could it be possible that your cards are getting flexed when you sit - and this is mechanical damage ... ?

 

(but, then, why is it not happening to mine?)

Top Tips:

  1. How to properly post source code - see: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment... - also how to properly include images/pictures
  2. "Garbage" characters on a serial terminal are (almost?) invariably due to wrong baud rate - see: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/serial-communication
  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
  4. Difference between a crystal, and a crystal oscillatorhttps://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  5. When your question is resolved, mark the solution: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  6. Beginner's "Getting Started" tips: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Andy, maybe your jeans are elsewhere when you sit.

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 1

I thought your jokes were bad - but now you've really reached the bottom!

 

Top Tips:

  1. How to properly post source code - see: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment... - also how to properly include images/pictures
  2. "Garbage" characters on a serial terminal are (almost?) invariably due to wrong baud rate - see: https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/serial-communication
  3. Wrong baud rate is usually due to not running at the speed you thought; check by blinking a LED to see if you get the speed you expected
  4. Difference between a crystal, and a crystal oscillatorhttps://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  5. When your question is resolved, mark the solution: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  6. Beginner's "Getting Started" tips: https://www.avrfreaks.net/comment...
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

awneil wrote:

But could it be possible that your cards are getting flexed when you sit - and this is mechanical damage ... ?

 

(but, then, why is it not happening to mine?)

I was thinking that also. Perhaps the degree of flex is smaller in your case.

 

Now, whether the amount of card flex is determined by the size of one's backside is subject to experimental analysis.

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

I am prepared to entertain the idea of mechanical damage caused by flexing. Especially since I have the buttocks of a young Adonis, despite my advanced chronological age, but this doesn't explain, to my mind, the gradual degradation of performance experienced by my AmEx card.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

Maybe the card performance is directly related to the funds within the account!

 

JC

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

My card has been exhibiting the same symptoms of late.  I keep it in a hard-shell aluminium case in my pocket, so it is never flexed.

 

I figured cumulative ESD.  Time for a new card I guess.

 

It is the second contactless payment card I've had, although it's the first that I used in a contactees manner.  I deliberately 'clipped the wings' of my first contactless payment card, because I was in agreement with @ki0bk at the time.  Nowadays I care less.  Contactless payments are limited to < $100 per transaction, and I am protected by my bank from unauthorised transactions and fraud.

 

Not much $ in that account anyway... ;-)

"Experience is what enables you to recognise a mistake the second time you make it."

"Good judgement comes from experience.  Experience comes from bad judgement."

"Wisdom is always wont to arrive late, and to be a little approximate on first possession."

"When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not unicorns."

"Fast.  Cheap.  Good.  Pick two."

"We see a lot of arses on handlebars around here." - [J Ekdahl]

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

DocJC wrote:

Maybe the card performance is directly related to the funds within the account!

 

JC


No. It isn't even detected. And still works fine in chip and pin transactions, online transfers etc.
Cumulative ESD, eh? Maybe that's also why the remote control socket outlets we use for the various lamps around the living room(my wife hates overhead lighting) also gradually fail. And I never sit on those.

Four legs good, two legs bad, three legs stable.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

John_A_Brown wrote:

And I never sit on those.

So who does? cheeky

Ross McKenzie, Melbourne Australia

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

As an observation: what ought to be similar signal strength from card readers tend to vary significantly; I have cards which work well on some readers from a couple of inches away but need to be touching, or even in a particular position upon, other readers. One day I'll get bored enough to investigate with my range indicator card... cumulative ESD damage would be my first thought, but I am suspicious of readers.

 

Neil

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

John_A_Brown wrote:
DocJC wrote:

Maybe the card performance is directly related to the funds within the account!

 

JC

No. It isn't even detected. And still works fine in chip and pin transactions, online transfers etc. Cumulative ESD, eh? Maybe that's also why the remote control socket outlets we use for the various lamps around the living room(my wife hates overhead lighting) also gradually fail. And I never sit on those.

 

But those are 2 different communications methods. Now a days it is the same chip, but in the early days it were even 2 separate chips or physical parts of a chip.

 

ki0bk wrote:

sounds like a capacitor leakage failure, time to "re-cap" your card! devil

 

Jim

Personally, I thought contact less cards were a stupid idea for financial transactions!

but then I'm an old guy, what do I know.

I had the same, till there was covid. Now all I have to do is hold the card close to the terminal and be done with it, no more touching the terminal and thus running the risk that someone with 'dirty' fingers touched the same buttons as I have to do.

 

 

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Total votes: 0

ki0bk wrote:
Personally, I thought contactless cards were a stupid idea for financial transactions!

but then I'm an old guy, what do I know.

 

I feel the starting of a club. cheeky

Wayne

East London
South Africa

 

  • No, I am not an Electronics Engineer, just a 54 year old hobbyist/enthusiast
  • Yes, I am using Proteus to learn more about circuit design and electronics
  • No, I do not own a licensed copy of Proteus, I am evaluating it legitimately
  • No, I do not believe in software or intellectual property piracy or theft