Hotel Key Cards and Personal Data

Kitty Bean Yancey addresses the myth that hotel keycards irresponsibly contain personal information, that you should never leave them behind.

This has never been on my list of worries. I deal with giving my credit card information to low-paid clerks all the time. My personal information is available to a tremendous number of data center customer service reps. And there’s no such thing as privacy anymore, in any case.

The real key is how you deal with situations — checking your own financial information on a regular basis, disputing inaccurate charges, etc.

But the hotel key card thing, it just isn’t so.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. the answer is yes and no. Not all cards will contain personal data. However some cards may contain personal data. This depends on what the hotels system has been designed to do. In the normal course there is no reason to have any extraneous data in the stripe but the room nos. However for the sake of convenience some systems simply copy the credit card data on the keycard stripe and then the sytem is designed to link up the room nos. this is a bad practise and is a risky propsition and it exposes secret data and the key card when returned can be misused. It is hence safe not to return key cards to the front desk on check out.that way there is no chance of data being compromised.

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