UNDERSTANDING MAGNETIC STRIPE CARDS
Order magnetic stripe cards. Magnetic stripes or mag stripes, are the dark strip of magnetic material often seen on the back of gift cards, loyalty cards and membership cards, which are used in conjunction with a POS system. Mag stripe cards are also used in access control as key cards, as well as on ID cards. They come in two main varieties: high-coercivity (HiCo) and low-coercivity (LoCo).
High-coercivity magstrips are harder to erase, and are more appropriate for cards that are frequently used or require extended life. Low-coercivity magstrips require a lower amount of magnetic energy to record, reducing their cost. Gift cards, loyalty cards, fundraising cards and membership cards typically utilize a LoCo magstrip. A magnetic stripe card reader can read either type of magnetic stripe.
WHAT IS MAGNETIC STRIPE ENCODING?
When magnetic stripes are encoded, a unique serial number is stored on the strip. This serial number is recognized by the POS system or access control lock device, providing access to funds stored on the POS system or opening a locked door.
Our magnetic stripe encoding services will ensure that your mag stripe cards work with your card reader hardware and software. There are three available encoding tracks on a magnetic stripe (aka magstripe), with the first two tracks being the most commonly used. Magnetic stripe encoding is perfect for gift cards, loyalty cards, membership cards and more.
HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?
Using a gift card as an example, a customer purchases a gift card, which is swiped by the cashier to obtain the serial number stored on its magnetic stripe. The cashier then asks the customer how much money they would like to be “placed” on the gift card. That amount is entered into the POS system by the cashier.
The next time the gift card is swiped, the POS system uses the serial number stored on the magnetic stripe to look up the customer’s card balance, which is stored on the POS system using the same serial number. Sometimes, a POS system may fail to read a magnetic stripe. That’s why we also recommend printing the same serial number directly onto the card’s surface. This is called a human-readable number.
Loco magnetic strips (300OE)
Loco magnetic stripe card is perfect for short-term applications where top level high security and lasting card life are less of an issue. The magnetic stripes on these cards are more of a brownish tone, while HiCo mag stripes are nearly black in color. LoCo cards utilize a lower strength electromagnetic field and are utilized for a range of applications consisting of gift cards, membership and loyalty cards, transit passes, hotel space secrets, amusement park passes, grocery club cards, and much more.
Hico magnetic strips (2750OE)
Hico magnetic stirp card has actually now been completely embraced by the banking market and is likewise utilized in the bulk of access control applications. It must be kept in mind that the greater the coercivity, the more pricey the magnetic tape is. The key distinction is HiCo magstripe card is encoded with a more powerful magnetic field that makes them more ideal for safe and secure applications and for when the cards might be swiped more often.
So what should i chose, Hico or Loco?
The answer is Loco magnetic strip. Magnetic stripe readers are “blind” as to whether a stripe is HiCo or LoCo and are developed to check out both. LoCo magnetic stripe cards are perfect for most applications. 95% of our clients chose loco magstrip card. But if you run a bank, you need hico magstrip card of course.