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You could have an air lock which would explain the gauge fluctuating. Or it could be a sticky thermostat that will need changing. Either way will mean a coolant change, so its probably best to change the thermostat while your at it !
As for the card not being recognised, have you got another card to try in the reader, as this will help to rule out the card reader.
If it does turn out to be the reader thats at fault, the good news is that they dont need programming to the car, so you can get one from a scrap yard / breakers etc and fit yourself in minutes.
Let hope its the reader as new keycards are loads of money from Renault !
Currently in dave_mezza2006's garage:
2014 Vauxhall Astra Limited Edition 1.4 16v VVT Turbo