Magnets under keyboard (top deck) and credit cards

Just wondering (maybe someone at the FW team can answer)… are those magnets strong enough to damage the magnetic strips on credit/access/loyalty cards?

I know it’s a bit niche, but I also work with a lot of audio tape and diskettes.


What kind of tapes and diskettes do you use?
Credit / debit cards, I wouldn’t worry about. Nor access cards.

How careful you have to be around magnets in general depends on the item. Specifically, the coercivity of its magnetic medium, how much magnetic flux / energy it takes to alter it. For card stripes, they are classified as HiCo (High-Coercivity) or LoCo (Low-Coercivity). Credit cards are all HiCo. Access control cards, employee ID cards, and gift cards are also commonly HiCo. There is more concern with LoCo. I’ve read that hotel room keys, visitor badges, and season passes are more commonly LoCo. Not sure where the coercivity of audio tapes or diskettes fall. Seems for audio tapes at least it can be different depending on the tape you have. Compact Cassette tape types and formulations - Wikipedia

Luckily, magnetic flux falls off rapidly with distance, it may not be an issue at all. Hopefully, Framework can give flux numbers at the surface of the keyboard / touchpad.

Also note that a lot of cards have moved away from magnetic stripes. If you are tapping your card or “dipping” your card into a reader rather than smoothly sliding the edge through, then it’s rfid, nfc, or direct contact chip. Those are all completely immune to magnets. Even access cards are often rfid these days.


I would assume any card with a magnetic strip would be mostly resistant to damage being exposed to a magnetic field.

All kinds. Into retro tech, so mostly 3.5" HD disks (not many 720k disks). I lost all my 5.25" disks and drives. I also have Zip disks.

I have so many different cassettes. Type I, II, and IV. Different brands and eras.

I’m just afraid of putting them on the top cover like I normally would without a second thought.

The older the tech is, the more likely it’s lower coercivity, and less resistant.

You want to be careful about putting low coercivity items on many laptops. Laptop lid sensors are usually magnetic. Sometimes the magnet is in the lid, but other times it’s at the edge of the palmrest. And it can be a fairly strong neodymium magnet. My Thinkpad has it in the palmrest, it’s quite strong, I’ve used it to hold screws when disassembling my mouse. Run a paperclip along the edge of your palmrest and top of the lid to check for a magnet.

I have no idea if this has any effect on credit cards, but what i can tell you is the following:

If you close your Framework and place another Framework with open lid on top of it, that framework will shutdown/hibernate as if you had closed its lid.
The magnet of the lower framework is strong enough to trigger the sensor in the upper framework.

There has been reports of macbooks and other things with magnets triggering a Framework 13 as well.

Yeah, but the sensors used are reasonably sensitive. That wouldn’t necessarily equate to a problem with magnetic media.

Many years ago, when 8" floppy disks were common, a colleague had problems with a customer who complained about floppy disks getting corrupted. Eventually it was found that the customer was sitting the disk on top of a container for paper clips that a quite strong ferrite ring magnet in the top, so you could just flip the paper clip towards the container and the magnet would attract it. The magnet was strong enough that sitting the floppy disk on top of the container was enough to mess the formatting on the disk. But those first generation disks, I suspect, were what is described as LoCo further up, whereas most modern magnetic media uses a chromium based media that comes under the HiCo type.

For the OP the best thing to do is to try some old media around the magnets to assess if there is a problem or not. I doubt there will be a real problem unless you actually wipe the media across the magnets, as close as you can to them. I would expect credit card magnetic stripes to be affected if touched face on to the magnet, but any other media at a distance of more than an inch or so shouldn’t have an affect.

But my view is that if you expect to have problems then you are not practising proper media handling ‘hygiene’ around your laptop.

My MacBook Pro and work ThinkPad are the same…

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