Can Credit Cards Get Wet?

By Bruce Boswell •  Updated: 12/14/21 •  6 min read
Filed under: Credit Cards

Credit cards are a staple of modern life! Easy and convenient to use, they make shopping easier in so many circumstances. They’re accepted in places worldwide, and can be used both in person and online.

Cash can be heavy and bulky, whereas a credit card can represent and let you spend so much more money without having to physically carry it! And, should the worst happen and your card gets stolen, you can at least cancel it, ensuring that your money is safe.

Can Credit Cards Get Wet

With cash, if it gets stolen, that’s usually game over – it’ll be spent before you’ve even finished the police report, and likely you’ll have no chance of preventing it. With a credit card, you can prevent any money from being spent – and even track where purchasing attempts were made!

One thing that people always worry about, however, is what happens if credit cards get wet, scratched, or magnets touch them? Some things can stop a card working. Well, worry no more, as we’ve compiled a handy guide to what can happen if your credit card gets wet. How can you dry it? Will it still work? Should you put your card into the dryer? Read on to find out!

How Do Credit Cards Work?

You may have noticed a black strip running along the back of your credit card. This is a magnetic stripe that holds information about your account. For decades now, the magnetic stripe has been a key component of credit and debit cards.

It enables the seller to easily and instantly verify your account information, and make a decision as to whether you’ll be able to purchase your goods. Thanks to modern technology, this whole process barely takes a few seconds.

Before the magnetic stripe, purchasing things with a credit card took a lot longer, and checking to see whether the bearer of a card was still eligible for credit was a much more difficult affair – card numbers would have to be checked against a huge list provided by the credit card company, and these lists had to be updated and circulated often!

Nowadays, the list is accessed instantly, and the checking process takes place in the time it takes the customer to put the card back into their purse or wallet!

The magnetic stripe is old technology, and is slowly beginning to be phased out. In its place are the modern chips that you might have seen. These chips enable greater security, and can even be used contactlessly! There are even cards that work with both a chip and biometric information about the user – such as a fingerprint.

No matter what technology your card uses, though, you’ll want to know whether it’ll be damaged by water! Read on to find out more!

Dropped In Water

Whether there’ll be any danger of your card working or not after getting wet is largely down to exactly how the card got wet. Well, there is good news – credit cards are surprisingly resilient!

If your card got wet by a little bit of rain – no problem at all! You can simply wipe the rain off – for example, on a shirt or pair of trousers. However, what if your credit card gets extremely wet – for example, what if you drop it in a puddle, or maybe a swimming pool?

Well, there’s good news there too! Your card is completely waterproof. You could submerse your card completely in water and leave it there for a month, and chances are that it would work perfectly well afterwards.

Not only will the magnetic stripe not be harmed by submersion in water, neither will any chip on your card too. Your card is made of plastic, which is pretty much inert when it comes to water. Basically, nothing really happens at all when you put a credit card into water!

Your card doesn’t have any way to absorb water at all. And, any chips on it are only going to be harmed by physical damage – I.e. if you scratch them or put marks on them. But water – no, your cards don’t care at all about water!

Through The Wash

However, putting your cards through the wash can be a different story. Mostly, you’ll likely end up with no damage, just as if your card was out in the rain or fell into a puddle. However, depending on the heat of your wash cycle, it’s actually possible to damage your card!

Credit cards really don’t like to get too hot – they can easily warp and bend. A card that goes through a hot wash cycle – over 50°C, or 122°F – runs the risk of being damaged just because of heat.

It’s possible that a card going through a wash cycle at these temperatures or hotter can bend out of shape, and can even have physical damage done to the magnetic stripe, or any chip on the card!

Also of note is that a washing machine spins around – which means anything inside it is constantly getting jostled and bumped! This means that physical damage is possible just to things hitting the card – such as buttons or zips.

So, while your card is waterproof, it’s not completely damage proof. It can survive a wash cycle, but it’s far better to avoid the worry altogether. Always check your pockets!


If your card gets wet, you may be wondering what’s the best way to dry it?

Well, absolutely do not put your card into the dryer with your clothes – or without them!

A dryer gets far too hot for your card to be safe. Its whole job is to get hot, and to heat things up – and that’s exactly what your credit card hates! It’s very easy to damage a card in the dryer, given the sheer heat. Your card can easily bend out of shape!

So, to dry a credit card? Just wipe it down with a dry cloth, some tissue, your shirt – that’s it! There’s no need to do any more than that – just a quick wipe down will do the job!


Don’t worry about getting your credit card wet – it can handle it! Just make sure to keep it away from heat, and anything that can cause physical damage. Dry off with a cloth, and it’ll be fine!

Bruce BoswellBruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell

Bruce Boswell enjoys researching and writing about all things related to investing and saving money. Whenever he has a chance, Bruce loves travelling all around the world with his wife and trying new foods.