Characteristics and applications of magnetic stripe CARDS

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effie  2017/09/09

As we know, the technology of “magstripes” has been around for a very long time, magnetic stripe card has been widely used in our daily life. Although we are using magnetic stripe cards widely, do you know what is magnetic stripe card exactly? Do you know how it works and how many types it have?

What is magnetic stripe card

A magnetic stripe card is a type of plastic card which has a magnetic stripe on it capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. Because of the use of different substrates, magnetic cards can be divided into PET cards, PVC cards and paper cards.

The magnetic stripe, sometimes called swipe card or magstripe, is read by swiping past a magnetic reading head. Magnetic stripe cards are commonly used in credit cardsidentity cards, and transportation tickets. They may also contain an RFID tag, a transponder device and a microchip mostly used for business premises access control or electronic payment.

The magnetic stripe card is a magnetic recording medium card. It is made of high-intensity, high temperature resistant plastic or paper coated with plastic, which is Moisture-proof, durable and with a certain flexibility, it’s easy to carry and more stable and reliable on usage. Usually, one side of the magnetic card printed with illustrative information, such as the direction of the card; the other side is magnetic or magnetic stripe, with 2-3 tracks to record the relevant information data.


According to the type of magnetic stripe, it can be divided into low-coercivity magnetic card (300oe or 600oe, such as park tickets) and high-coercivitty magnetic card (2700oe or 3500oe, such as subway card, phone card)

Anti-magnetic,simply speaking, is used to measure the magnetic stripe resistance capacity for the loss of data caused by external magnetic field , also known as anti-degaussing. The magnetic resistance (coercivity) unit is OE (Oersted). Low magnetic resistance means ordinary anti-degaussing magnetic stripe, its magnetic resistance generally is 300 ~ 650 OE. High magnetic resistance is with a high anti-degaussing magnetic stripe, magnetic resistance is generally 2750,3500 and 4000 OE. The standard of magnetic stripe card is in accordance with the international standard ISO / IEC7811-1,2,3,4,5,6, and the national standard GB / T15120,which is provided the details of the magnetic stripe card media, physical size, magnetic stripe data location, angle, magnetic intensity, magnetic stripe data bit width, magnetic stripe data leading 0 and so on.


Due to the information on the magnetic stripe is easier to be read and the contents of the magnetic stripe are easier to be modified,most of the magnetic cards are used as static data input (such as basic information about the bank’s personal account). Although the third track can be read and written, and have the amount field, it is only used for small amount of application areas, such as telephone cards.

In the financial industry, as a magnetic card of the financial transaction card , it’s generally cooperate with a strong, reliable computer network system to use. The amount, transaction records and other information, are stored in the computer database of the financial institutions, the user’s card is only to provide the Index information of user’s main account, easy to find users in the database quickly.

The magnetic stripe cards can be applied to:

bank cards, securities, insurance:

credit card, quasi credit card, ATM card, ATM card, debit card, transfer card, special card, stored value card, joint card, business card, personal card, Card, insurance card, social security card, stock exchange card, etc.

Retail services: shopping cards, cash cards, membership cards, gift cards, order cards, discount cards, points cards, etc.

Social Security: Life and Accident Insurance Cards, Health Cards, etc.

Traffic travel: car insurance card, travel card, room card lock, passport card, parking card, payable TV card, expressway pay card, checked card, etc.

Medical card: health card, health check card, blood card, diagnostic card, blood card, health record card, maternity card, medical card, insurance card, prescription card, etc.

Special documents: identification card, temporary residence card, seal registration card, tax free card, etc.

Education: CAI card, book card, student card, report card, counseling card, grade card , etc.

Entertainment: video card, karaoke card, entertainment card, cinema card, etc.

Other: factory automation card, operator card, quality control card, access control card, work card, personal record card, home security card, etc.

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