Next, I should consider the sticker's height.
Credit cards aren’t all the same size on accident; there’s an actual group called the International Organization for Standardization that declares how big they can be. According to those standards, payment cards must be 0.76 millimeters, or 0.03 inches, thick.
ATMs around the world are, therefore, built to accommodate cards that are 0.03 inches thick. If I put a super-puffy sticker on my card that makes it taller than this, Jania — also a member of the International Card Manufacturers Association — says it might not fit in the slot. Worse, if I’m at an ATM that retracts my card, it could get stuck inside the machine.
“They have gear mechanisms in there that may be fouled by the sticker,” he says.
I could have a similar issue with point-of-sale terminals. If I try to insert my puffy-stickered card into a payment terminal and it’s too thick, it could prevent the card from adequately contacting the internal mechanism that reads the chip, says Andy Cease, marketing director of instant financial issuance at Entrust.
What I really need to be careful not to do is put my sticker over the chip. Jania says that inside payment machines, there are tiny pins that come down and literally touch the chip in order to read it and process a transaction. If the chip is covered by a sticker, this obviously can’t happen.
Heather Harmon, director of instant issuance and client management at Fiserv, says to also avoid covering my name, the card number and the magnetic stripe. Ditto the expiration date and CVV code — if I can’t read these, then I’m screwed for online shopping.
Harmon says that while putting stickers on my card “can be done,” she doesn’t recommend it. Jania too.
And Cease admits that, yeah, my bank probably won’t love it.
“They view these cards as a mini billboard that their consumers carry around with them every day and transact on,” he says, explaining that covering the card with stickers means they lose that real estate. “Their preference probably wouldn’t be that there’s a sticker affixed to it.”