Hotel key cards do not contain credit card info

King Features Syndicate

DEAR HELOISE: I was told that cards used for keys in some hotels and motels should be destroyed and not returned to the hotel or motel because they contain important information, including your address and credit-card numbers, with expiration dates. Anyone with a card reader, or an employee of the hotel, can access this personal information. Because I will be leaving on vacation soon, this is a concern. Do you know if this is true? — Dianne Lucenti, via e-mail


After checking with two major hotel chains, the information you have received is not true. The only information on the magnetic strip of a "key card" is to access your room only. The hotel key-card system is different from the billing system. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: On a trip to the Baltic a few years ago, I saw an interesting use for clay pots. Where smoking was allowed at restaurants with outdoor tables, a clay pot with a hole in the bottom was turned upside down in a clay saucer to put ashes and cigarette butts into.


It kept the stench at a minimum and prevented ashes from flying around in the breezes that seem to be common there. And, it stopped fires caused by people putting not-quite-dead cigarettes, etc., into containers that might have paper or other combustibles inside. — Jo Stermer, Huntsville, Ala.

DEAR HELOISE: If you are tired of a soap bar falling off the wall holder into the shower, here is the answer: Take a piece of rubber shelf liner and put it into the holder. Lo and behold, the soap bar stays in place, and the liner can be cleaned easily. — Claire Lazarus, Tamarac, Fla.

DEAR HELOISE: As Boy Scouts, my sons learned to wrap duct tape around a water bottle. You have two sources of emergency equipment in one. — Diane Day Ubias, Bellaire, Texas

Heloise shares household tips from readers. Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to

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