If you’re an avid Nintendo fan, you’ll more than likely know about amiibo, the creation by Nintendo – originally only in figure form. Bringing the figure to life. However, in 2017, Nintendo started to release card versions of the figures, which have been hugely popular in the Animal Crossing community especially.

Although these collectors cards are fantastic and offer a similar unboxing experience to a Pokemon card pack, but Nintendo has created these with a purpose. For those of you who don’t know anything about the amiibo cards, amiibo cards offer in-game content, whether that’s new clothes, soundtracks, or a new character.

Whether you’re new to the Nintendo world, or you’ve regularly used amiibo cards, but are finding an error with your cards, we have some simple troubleshooting to help you fix the issue why isn’t my amiibo card working and more.

Why is my Amiibo card not working?

Why isn't my Amiibo card working?

Photo by Yves Alarie on Unsplash

You’ve finally found the amiibo you’ve been searching for, but then your Switch advises it can’t read it, then what? If you’re wondering, Why isn’t my Amiibo card working? There are a few reasons to why your amiibo card may not be working. Here are some of the common issues and how to resolve them:

  • Software update needed
  • It is not a licensed accessory
  • A cover on your NFC touchpoint
  • Not compatible with the game you are playing

Software update needed

It is possible your game needs a software update. Without this, the software may be outdated and cause issues with your game. To do this, please follow the below steps:

  1. Ensure you are connected to the internet
  2. Then turn on your Switch which should take you to the home screen. However, if you still have a game loaded, close this down before continuing.
  3. Select the icon you wish to update by clicking +
  4. Next, you should see software update on the left, followed by via the internet on the right
  5. If there is an update that needs doing, your Switch will do this now.

Unlicensed accessory

If you attempt to use an amiibo card made by anyone but Nintendo, you may encounter errors. Although there are fake amiibo cards on the market to purchase, you can never be sure these are going to work. If unsure as to whether your amiibo is real or fake, real amiibo cards have NVL-001 or NVL-201 printed on them.

Cover on NFC point

Whether you’ve decorated your Switch or put covers on the Joy-Cons for comfort, these can disrupt the connection between your amiibo and the switch controller. Simply remove the cover on your right joy-con (if applicable) and try again.

Not compatible with the game

Not all amiibo characters work in all games. Therefore, the reason may simply be that you cannot use the character you are trying to use in that game. This applies to games such as Mario Kart and Animal Crossing. If you’re unsure which game your cards are compatible with, the Nintendo website has a post advising of this.

Can I use a fake Amiibo card on Animal Crossing?

Although Nintendo does not recommend it as it is illegal, you can use unofficial amiibo cards. Which, if done correctly, can provide the data from the chip in the fake card to your game.

How do I use an Amiibo card?

Why isn't my Amiibo card working?

Photo by Ryan Quintal on Unsplash

If you are unsure of how to use an amiibo card, we have the answers right here.

Although these may just look like collector’s cards, they actually have tiny chips which sit behind the logo on each of the cards, you can see this in a post by Techno Buffalo who took apart one of their amiibo cards. This allows for their interactive features to work. Unsure how to get started? Here is our guide to using an amiibo card.

Having issues with your PS5? Here’s how to connect your console to the internet with ease.

How to use amiibo cards on Nintendo Switch

To use an amiibo card on a Nintendo Switch, you need to scan the card on the NFC touchpoint. If you’re unsure of where to find this, it varies on different devices, so here’s where to find it if you’re stuck:

  • On Joycon controllers it is on the right stick
  • If you’re using the Pro Controller, the NFC point is in the middle where the logo is
  • The Nintendo Switch Lite has it on the right stick
  • The latest model of Switch is the OLED, which also scans on the right-hand Joy-Con

Once you’ve found where you need to scan the amiibo, find the option within your game to scan it in, you will usually see the a for an amiibo symbol in places where you can do so. For games such as Mario Kart, this is on the main screen.

Using an amiibo card on other Nintendo devices

Although most Nintendo fans use a Switch, there is nothing like nostalgic gaming. With many users still enjoy games such as Pokemon, New Leaf, and Mario Kart on their DS.

If you’re looking to use your amiibo card on a different Nintendo device such as a DS, here is a list of the devices you can use amiibo on:

  • Nintendo Switch (all models)
  • Wii U
  • New Nintendo 3DS
  • Nintendo 3DS XL
  • New Nintendo 2DS

Although you can use amiibo cards on Nintendo 3DS, Nintendo 3DS XL, or Nintendo 2DS, you will need an additional product such as an NFC reader.

If you’re looking to find out how to use an amiibo card on your new model of 3DS or 2DS, here’s how:

  1. Turn on your Switch
  2. Next, head on to settings which can be found under the icon with the house and wrench
  3. Scroll down to amiibo setup
  4. Put the amiibo card or figure on the bottom screen, and you should be greeted with a successfully read amiibo message on the top screen.

If you’re looking to use the amiibo in a game, there will be points which you are advised you can use an amiibo. In this case, you only need to follow step 4.

How many times can I use amiibo

Photo by Alexandr Sadkov on Unsplash

There isn’t a limit on the number of times you can use an amiibo card. Therefore they’re great for trading, sharing, and using as many times as you want.


If you’re looking to add more exclusive features to your games, it’s worth looking into amiibo cards, with Nintendo offering them many of their games, including Zelda, Smash Bros, and Animal Crossing.