The Original Cleaning Card vs. The Waffle Cleaning Card
The following is a comparison of The Original Card Reader Cleaning Card and the waffle card. The data and evidence we present is for educational purposes only, but we highly recommend you measure the thickness of the waffle card with some calipers like we did. Our measurements came out to .019". Photographic evidence, as well as video's of actual real-world testing will be added but once you see the difference, you will know why The Original is still the Best Cleaning Card available.
What's the Difference?
Aside from the protruding "waffles" the most obvious difference between The Original Card Reader Cleaning Card and the waffle card is the thickness and the flexibility. Not the length or even the width, but rather the thickness. This is most noticeable because the waffle card is not rigid like The Original card(or the EcoCard™), and is much flimsier. This is due to the fact that the waffle card does not meet the International Standards (ISO/IEC 7810) thickness for credit and ID cards, which is .030” (.76mm). The waffles do add some height but only in a few areas, NOT the entire card.
The International Standard (ISO/IEC 7810) Thickness for Credit and ID Cards is .030” (.76mm). The height including the waffles measure more than .019" but are difficult to measure precisely due to their flexibility. Some waffles areas are too thin to perform any cleaning at all.
Some waffles protrude higher than the .019" base and some do not but they are hard to measure due to their flexibility. If we can't measure them consistently, how are they supposed to clean consistently? Waffles are essentially 'humps' in the cleaning card created by stretching the plastic substrate. If the waffle is convex on one side, it is concave on the opposite. This means there is nothing backing these waffles up, no substance or rigidity so they collapse under pressure and only offer a light or inconsistent cleaning at best.. For example, if a convex side of a waffle should meet resistance, it collapses to fill in the concave void that is it's opposite. What this means is that if the waffles should somehow meet resistance they will end up flat—just like a flat cleaning card, except that the waffle is still too thin to provide a really good cleaning and the evidence we have seen backs this up. Please see the pictures of our real world tests - look at the dirt the Original Cleaning Card picks up and the dirt the Waffle leaves behind.
When the waffle meets resistance, it is flattened like a pancake (no pun intended).
So it's Not as Thick, What's Your Point?
Our point is a credit card machine, or a POS terminal, is designed to be used with credit cards that are .030" and therefore, the Cleaning Cards need to be this thickness too! The slot* in which a card is swiped ranges from around .035" to as large as .050". To clean these readers, you need a cleaning card that is identical in size to a credit card? Any thicker and the card may not fit in the slot. If it's too thin, it's too loosey goosey to really clean. For example, in certain readers a card that is too thin may not contact the reader head at all. If the cleaning card isn't contacting the reader head, it's simply not cleaning. In other situations the card may be too flimsy to be pushed into the card reader far enough for it to be sensed and pulled into the machine (we've experienced this in actual field tests and will have videos demonstrating this posted on our YouTube channel soon). Take a look at our YouTube where the waffle was not even sensed by the card reader and as a result, became jammed in the card reader. We had to pick at it with our finger nails to remove the waffle card.
A cleaning card cannot clean reader heads if it does not come in contact with them. We know ours does - you should decide for yourself if other cleaning cards fit the bill. The waffles above need to be drawn in perspective to indicate the actual height achieved by the waffles.
The Oringinal Card Reader Cleaning card meets the International Standards (ISO/IEC 7810) specs exactly. It is the size and shape of a credit card with a safe, soft cleaning material bonded to it's substrate. This means it will fit into any card reader or POS terminal exactly how a credit card would—in fact the additional cleaning surface makes the fit in most readers a bit more snug than a credit card typically is.
But What About the Waffles?
The waffles are said to be raised platforms that are spring-loaded to increase pressure on the internals of the card reader. We believe that constant pressure and a longer cleaning surface is the ideal and optimal way to clean a card reader.
The raised humps create a cleaning surface (contact patch) which cleanssomewhat. But don't take our word for it, you can see for yourself in any number of waffle product photographs that the "dirt" only appears on the waffles. Most of the rest of the cleaning card's surface is not used, and remains clean. We tested a number of waffle cards and none o fthem matched the performance of the Original. If they did not work well for us, and we have been cleaning reader heads since 1981, how can they possibly work well for anyone else.
The main contact surfaces are the protruding waffles which do give the card an overall thickness greater than the .019" substrate.
Again, we ask you to measure the waffle substrate which is .019" as opposed to other cleaning card substrates which measures between .028" and .030". We believe that thicker is better and the following photograph illustrates this point. Other tests were conducted but this was the most evident.
The raised waffles did pick up some dirt and contaminants.
Note:The Waffles are very hard to photograph, which is why they are so hard to see in the photo. If they picked up more dirt, they would be easier to see!
*The measurements .035" to .050" are the range which we've found these card reader slots typically measure based on our measurements in the field.