Pulling the Magnetic Strip Out of American Paper Money




My grandpa taught me how to do this along time ago and I figured because this is the site that is the depository for all how toing knowledge why not add my own weird trick.

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Step 1: Locating the Strip

Take American paper currency more than the one (one dollar bills do not contain the magnetic strip) and hold it up to a bright light. I recommend doing this with five because this may make it so that you can't use the bill in a vending machine or at least it will think its a one. I also recommend that you do this with an old bill because it makes extraction easier. When you look through the five you should see a strip of something that has the words USA FIVE written in small black print on it.

Disclaimer: This may be illegal. This is only for informational purposes.

Step 2: Preparing for Extraction

Now that you know where the strip is you have to loosen it within the two layers. I do this by folding the bill along the strip. Then hold the fold in between your thumb and pointer finder and role the fold back and forth. If you do this with a new bill you should see a kind of pocket in the shape of the strip forming. You want to do this thoroughly along the whole strip to make sure its completely loose.

The below picture is a side view of the five.

Step 3: Extraction

Now that the strip is completely loose go to the top of the bill and make a very small tear as close to being on top of the strip as possible. The tear should just come to the top of the black line. If the tear was in the proper spot you should be able to work the two layers apart and see the end of the magnetic strip. Now grab the end of the strip and pull it out. If your loosening was done well it should slide right out. You may want to use a forceps for this but it's your choice.

I'm not sure if this is legal. I think it may fall under the defacing of money.
It might also make a vending machine think your fives a one I haven't tried it yet but i think that's how a vending mahcine knows when you give it different bill types.



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    49 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Just thinking OUT LOUD, but if you wanted to do both: deactivate the strip AND not break the $ law of "spinning & mutilating" paper currency, there must be a way to DEMAGNITIZE that strip. Hold it up to a piece of Kryptonite, uranium, etc. I'm the Idea Person. Where are the tech grunts w/the boring details? ;p


    11 years ago on Introduction

    new vending machine may. sometime in the future, use the strips for Identifying... but very machine I know of currently uses optical clues. The old greenbacks still work just fine, and there's no(well, maybe a little in the ink) metal in them. It probably DOES fall under defacing the money. It Probably is illegal. Fun stuff to know though. Wonder what'd happen if you put that strip from the five into a single? :-)

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    everybody thinks that. defacing money is NOT ILLEGAL, unless you plan on distributing it again (which in this case it is illegal because moomoocows talks about putting it into vending machines), but what i was trying to explain is that once you have money, it is literally yours, you purchased it. so toss it in a blender, rip it up, do whatever pleases you with it. thats not illegal. it is only illegal if after doing said actions, you intend on redistruting it. sorry if i seem harsh, i have a headache and am tired and just wanted to vent (LONG MONTH)-- so dont take it personally ironsmiter.

    so if i put a dollar in a blender AND intend to redistribute it i am breaking a law, right? suppose the blender was unplugged? in the eyes of the law then, would my intent, or the named blender itself, be branded Quasi-Inert?

    Erik Lindemann

    11 years ago on Step 3

    Actually, vending machines work mostly on the magnetic ink that is used in bills. I have no idea what this magnetic strip is, or if it is that at all. If you don't mind me asking, but do you think this does anything good at all. Just about every instructable has some redeeming quality, whether illegal or just plain entertaining. This to me has no merit since if that strip is in fact magnetic, it's definitely too weak to use in any other applications.

    5 replies

    Actually, vending machines and magneticism have no correlation to each other...vending machines use optics (mostly tiny cameras in certain places) to validate, and determine the worth of the money you put in it...so even if you take the strip out of a $5 bill, it is still useable in the machine because it doesnt read wether or not there is a strip in the currency.


    Thats where i got my info from.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 3

    Truth be TOLD: The magnetic strip is a RFID and the agents of the imperial US govmt. use it to make sure you are not taking $$$ out of the country or carrying too much, according to them, at any given time. They have hand held and walk thru scanners... think airport here... and can tell from 25' or more how much you have in your pocket as you walk by. Big Brother in action. So, one redeeming quality of this instructable could be, that if you remove all the strips from all of your cash you can carry as much as you want anywhere you want, without being arrested for the innocent act of carrying your own money in your own pocket or bag, or briefcase. :-) Thanks... I think I'll do that to 100 - 100 dollar bills and see if I can get through the airport security ;-D


    It may not be useful or helpful but as OniTora said this site is here to tell you how to do things and I did just that.

    OniToraErik Lindemann

    Reply 11 years ago on Step 3

    Redeeming qualities isn't in the rules. I'm only a casual skimmer, but I thought it was about teaching people how to do things. That's a thing I'm glad I now know how to do. I'm not gonna go do it, but it's cool to know how its done in case I ever need to.

    Ease up. _



    11 years ago on Introduction

    United States Code
    § 333. Mutilation of national bank obligations

    “Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or
    unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill,
    draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking
    association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System,
    with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence
    of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or
    imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

    Read more, make your own judgment if it is illegal to deface US Currency

    9 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    ill do it I'm canadain _____________ | | /\ | | | | d b | | | | | | | ______________ just kidding , but it really is a criminal offence

    --scare--A good name

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    ummm... YES IT IS!!!

    you can get fined and jailed for DESTROYING money or THROWING IT AWAY...
    (money costs money to be produced!!)
    flinging your pennys at strangers is a crime in two ways!!

    but only for canadian money!!! we can destroy as much US money as we want!!!
    (or from anywhere else than the country we are in) e.g. i can burn anykind of money exept canadian money  o.O

    and by the way, a fine policeman warned me once for throwing my change in the street at a pesky hobo LOL!!


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    not true. it doesnt matter your country of origin, race, or religion, if you deface U.S. money (according to that law nnygamer posted) you can still be fined and jailed if caught.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     lol, all the penny pressers (presses a penny in to a oval shape with design on one side)  use American pennys in Canada.
    we pay 1 - 2 dollars to crush US money.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I win the canadian part of the debate... ^.^ YAY

    as for the US part, i'll leave you to it (i'm in Montreal) and i dunno any us laws that can apply to me (when i'm in Montreal)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    actually its not illegal. i called someone at the treasury and they told me that as long as someone is not trying to use the money they deface as being re-circulated then its perfectly fine. and if defacing money was so illegal, than someone who went to turn in defaced money to get replaced would get arrested on the spot. not only that but you wouldnt see those souvenir penny presses. Just Saying

    Edrainkona is right. If he's not using the money to buy/sell/trade or whatever, it's perfectly fine. And anyways, no one does anything. People accept money with stuff written on it all the time. "...or does any other thing to any bank bill,..." i think this is a thing