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How to Use Neodymium Magnets to Remove Security Tag?

What is a Security Tag?

A security tag, also known as electronic article surveillance, is a magnetic device employed in retail loss prevention and asset protection to reduce theft and preserve profits. Naturally, security tags are made primarily for retail companies since they suffer the most from theft and shoplifting.

Retail loss prevention and retail asset protection are activities under profit preservation. On the other hand, profit preservation is a business activity geared explicitly towards reducing preventable losses. A preventable loss occurs when deliberate or accidental human action costs a business one or more of its goods, thereby denying them profit. Colloquially, this is called “shrinkage .”Although preventable loss and loss prevention are mainly attached to the retail sector, they can also be found virtually every business setting. One of the traditional approaches toward loss prevention is using security guards in stores and marketplaces to observe shopper’s behavior and apprehend shoplifters.

When an item is unaccounted for in a store, it is referred to as shrinkage. Shrinkage happens when the figure on the store’s inventory system does not match what is actually in stock. For instance, a retail company’s inventory system says it has 34 gallons of milk in stock, but it could only account for 29. Then, they have a shrinkage of 5 gallons which is a loss to the company. After completing the Federal National Retail Security Survey in the United States in 2018, it was concluded that the average shrinkage for US retailers is 1.33%. The figure seems dismissible because it is not even up to 2%. However, when we consider that the US retail sector was valued at 6.6 trillion dollars in 2021, and 1.33 percent of that is almost 87.8 billion dollars, we see a lot of money being lost.

So to prevent losses, retail companies have adopted several prevention methods, one of which is using security tags on their goods.

How Do Security Tags Work?

Security tags contain something known as Radio Frequency Identification; these are small microchips that send a radio signal to a receiver when triggered.

And when we say small, we mean small!

Because security tags are so basic and include very little info (such as price/SKU number), they can fit onto a sticker label on the back of merchandise without compromising its appearance.

Technology is more common than you think– as a matter of fact, you’ve almost certainly used them before without realizing it. They are used in passports, Metro transport cards, hotel room key cards, animal microchips, and other essential gadgets we use daily.

So how does such a little gadget do so much? It doesn’t even have a power source or anything.

The security tag comprises two essential parts: a circuit and an antenna. These things are ineffective without a power source, and that’s the magic.

An electrical field is produced when the circuit comes within the range of radio waves at low, high, and ultra-high frequencies. The electrical field then powers the circuit and allows it to transmit a signal to a nearby receiver. When the signal is received, an alarm goes off in the store, warning the staff members of an ongoing theft.

The equipment that receives the signals is usually fixed on both sides of the entrance(s), such as hotel space locks, security gates, and stock PDAs. The equipment powers the same chip they are scanning since they generate the radio waves and utilize the information for whatever purpose.

How to Use Neodymium Magnets to Remove Security Tag?

Removing security tags from clothes using a neodymium magnet is pretty straightforward. The hardest part of this process is getting your hands in a neo magnet. However, that is not very difficult either.

When removing security tags using neodymium magnets, the trick is knowing where to place the magnet to cancel out the field within the tag that makes it lock. Here’s how to use neodymium magnets to remove security tags from your items.

  1. Get a neodymium magnet. It could be a block, round, ring, or any shape.
  2. Observe the security tag to determine which part has the pin and which is not the pin. Usually, the part with the pin is flat while the other part protrudes.
  3. Hold the flat pin head firmly, then place the protruding part of the tag against the neodymium magnet.
  4. The protruding part of the security tag should slightly attach to the neodymium magnet, and the pin should come off very easily.

This method works very easily because security tags contain a magnetic coil that generates a magnetic field to keep the pin magnetized to ball bearings inside the protruding part of the tag. However, placing it close to a powerful neodymium magnet will cancel out the magnetic field within the tag, making the pin easy to remove.

History of Security Tags

Arthur Minasy first created surveillance and monitoring tags that could be fixed on items in stores in 1966. At first, the principle of pilferage ending up being a genuine issue for sellers started in 1964 when a seller in Ohio raised a requirement after he faced pilferage in his store. Afterward, much research was carried out, it reached a stage where noticeable deterrence has been so developed that a merchant does not even need to set up pedestals in a store.

Since the invention of security tags, there have been developments and improvements. There have been other proposed alternatives to them. However, security tags seem to be the best option for retail stores.

Applications of Security Tags

There are several businesses and even buildings where security tags are constantly used. They include:


Probably the place that has witnessed the widest use of security tags in retail stores. Undoubtedly, introducing security tags has reduced the rate at which shoplifters commit atrocities. Security tags have been very effective in this department because they set off an alarm on the exit, and the thieves are caught.

Security tags can also help curb theft in stores by just scaring off intending kleptomaniacs. Shoplifters may not notice covertly fixed tags. However, intending thieves may change their minds if your security tags are visible on the goods.

Production Lines

Security tags can always send signals to a receiver nearby. However, how you use them determines their functions. For instance, their use in production lines differs from that of stores. The manager may use security tags in a production line to identify what items come off the production lines, in what order, and how many.

Shipment Tracking

Using security tags in bulk shipment makes the work much faster, aiding productivity. This method is more efficient than barcodes since barcode scanners require a visual line of sight to function. That is, they have to be close to the barcode to scan it. On the other hand, signal receivers from security tags only need to receive a signal as the boxes move past them.


You can also use security tags to add new products to inventory. This is particularly essential for companies with the high movement of goods in and out of their premises. Using security tags to take stock ensures you have an accurate number of goods bought and sold.

One of the most popular places where security tags are used like this in libraries. Since libraries have many books and people are always coming to borrow them, they now fit security tags on their books to keep tabs on each one.

Types of Security Tags

There are three basic types of security tags, including EAS tags, benefit denial tags, and visual tags.

EAS Tags

Utilized by 73 percent of sellers based on the most recent Global Retail Theft Barometer, EAS security tags are the most effective tag type to fight theft.

The EAS system sees tags in interaction with an antenna housed near the entryway to a store when the tagged product enters the distance of this antenna, an alarm sounds, signaling personnel of prospective danger.

There are two primary EAS systems (radio frequency and acoustic magnetic); the difference is the frequency at which the tags and antenna run. One is low while the other is higher.

Benefit Denial Tags

Benefit denial tags see the taken product adversely impacted when the burglar attempts to neutralize the tag. The most common form is ink dye tags which launch enduring ink when the tag is damaged, rendering the taken item useless.

Ink tags don’t send out signals like EAS tags. Their aim is not to prevent theft but to render stolen items useless to the thieves. And that is why they are always used in products where color is an essential feature. Usually, they are used on clothing and fabric.

Visual Tags

Visual tags show that an EAS system is in place but does not have a receiver that interacts with an antenna.

Essentially, they provide a visual deterrent for shoplifters rather than sounding an alarm and notifying personnel when a product is being taken.

In addition to various tags, various shapes and styles are available, which are developed to match various merchandise.

Other Methods of Removing Security Tags

You can leverage some methods to remove a security tag from an item. While these methods may cost less than buying a neodymium magnet, they are much more expensive. Also, the cost of the materials you use will eventually add up.

One method involves getting cutting pliers and a candlestick.

Using the candle, deeply burn the protruding part of the security tag. Then get rid of the melted portion using the pliers and pull out a spring you will find there.

Next, you will find the needle/pin. Gently push it out, and you’ve successfully removed the tag.


Article by

ROBO Magnetic Product Team

We are the manufacturer with 16 years of experience in custom neodymium magnets.

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