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How Long Do RFID Cards Last: Do They Expire?

rfid cards

Businesses in this world of evolving technologies have many great tools that help them accomplish their goals. RFID cards contain either low frequency (LF) 125KHz or high frequency (HF) 13.56Mhz chips. LF RFID chip is used in the identification field, access control field, and safety management while HF RFID chip is used in the high-security request field found in hotel key cards, passports, credit, and debit cards.

RFID cards are crucial in access control. These cards store information on a chip embedded in the card. The chip contains an embedded secure microprocessor and an internal memory. In the plastic body of the card, is an antenna whose main purpose is to absorb radio frequency waves to transmit and receive signals. This antenna is woken up by the amount of energy flowing into it, which wakes up its circuit. However, the lifespan of the card depends on many factors.


How Long Can RFID Cards Last Working?


Under normal conditions, RFID-enabled cards can function for 20 years or more. If the antenna and chip are not exposed to high heat levels or harsh chemicals, the cards will be functional for long. Tags can be purchased with housings that will protect both the chip and antenna from exposure to physical abuse, corrosive chemicals, and heat. RFID cards contain a passive RFID tag which consists of the card’s chip and internal antenna. The chips are passive, therefore, they require energy from a scanner to be active. The tag size is smaller than a business card and it relies on the energy transferred by RF waves. RFID cards provide you with high-level data security and allow you to integrate several applications into the card.

Chips are a little more rugged, therefore, they make the cards more durable and the expiration time can be longer too. The chip stores details like the credit card number and expiration date. The expiration date is on the card but not for your account.


However, card expiration dates are important for;

1. Card improvements

To maximize upcoming design or marketing changes to the issuing bank’s logo, name, or look, as well as promotions and payment technology upgrades on the chip especially, when the reissue dates are timed.

2. Fraud protection

The month/year expiration date on the card, along with your card number, name, security code, and address helps online merchants verify that you are indeed the actual cardholder without exposing your account number. Card issuers can respond to data breaches, and replace lost, and stolen cards better when they group cards into expiration date portfolios.

3. Card deterioration

Most RFID chip cards may last slightly longer than magnetic stripe cards because their terminal insert is less abrasive.



RFID-enabled cards can stop working if the card is physically damaged, demagnetized, or exposed to electrostatic discharge (ESD). Therefore, it is important to use an RFID sleeve or wallet to prevent physical contact of the card with other credit cards. Overall, proper handling of an RFID-enabled card is critical to its lifespan. Expiration dates will always be there as long as the physical plastic card remains a popular way to pay and an access tool to different premises.


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