Start tapping into Google “will my credit …” and it reveals that the second most common dilemma is whether a credit card will survive a wash cycle. (The first, driven by users in the US, is “will my credit card work in Europe.”)
The trouble is, the answers that appear at the top of the search results can be as daft as the questions. For example, Yahoo! Answers tells you that a credit card that goes through a washing machine will carry on working so long as it’s not damaged – but won’t, if it is. True, but not especially helpful (and that was rated as “best answer” by Yahoo! readers).
So we put it to Barclaycard, which operates more than 10m credit cards in the UK. It said: “Water won’t damage the ability of a chip to function.” The bigger problem will be if the plastic warps or even melts.
It seems credit card plastic can start to melt at about 57C, but that should make it safe in any British summer. Perhaps, though, you should be wary about flashing your plastic in Aziziya in Libya. It holds the record for the highest temperature measured, at 57.8C (136F). Mind you, that was in 1922.
As regards credit cards in Europe the Americans have a point; while our credit cards have a chip and the magnetic strip, most Americans are still using cards with a magnetic strips only, which might be rejected at some payment terminals over here. Tell them it’s about European technological superiority.
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