Magnetic Stripe

Magnetic stripes for your cards

Cards with magnetic stripes speed transactions and ensure accuracy at the point of sale for all types of applications, including gift cards. We offer two or three track magnetic stripes in either standard low coercivity (LoCo) or longer life high coercivity (HiCo) versions. Our team will help you determine the appropriate stripe for your application.

What Kind of Magnetic Stripe do I Need?

HiCo cards are common in applications where longer card life is expected and where cards are swiped often (several times per week). Credit cards, bank cards, library cards, access control cards, time and attendance cards and employee ID cards frequently use HiCo technology.

LoCo cards are typically used for short term applications including hotel room keys, gift cards, phone cards, transit passes and season passes for theme parks, amusement etc. Life on these stripes is expected to be 2 years or more.

What is the Difference Between Hi-Co and Lo-Co Magnetic Stripes?

HiCo magnetic stripes are encoded with a stronger magnetic field (2750 Oersted). This makes HiCo cards more durable because the data encoded on the stripes are less likely to unintentionally be erased when exposed to an outside magnetic field.

LoCo magnetic stripes are encoded at a low intensity magnetic field (300 Oersted). LoCo is less durable but also less expensive.

Either style stripe contains identical information and will work in all standard card readers.

What is the Difference Between 2 Track and 3 Track Magnetic Stripes?

2 Track Magnetic Stripes are approx. 5/16th inch tall and can be encoded on Track 1 or Track 2.

3 Track Magnetic Stripes are approx.7/16th inch tall and can be encoded on Track 1, Track 2 and Track 3.

You can use either unless you specifically need to encode data on Track 3. In that case you would need to use a 3 Track Magnetic Stripe.

How Much Information Can Be on the Magnetic Stripe?

Track 1 – 79 Alphanumeric Characters

Track 2 – 40 Numeric Characters

Track 3 – 107 Numeric Characters

How Close Can I Image Next to the Magnetic Stripe?

1/8th inch clear area above or below is recommended.

How Do I Know What Track to Encode?

You will need to check with the company that provided your reader or point of sale system. We can also analyze an existing card to determine the tracks needed.

How Do I Need to Format My Data?

We use data files that are Fixed Length, Excel, Comma Separated Quote Qualified and Delimited (examples: Tab Delimited, Pipe Delimited etc…). Data should be provided with a data layout showing what fields need to be used to personalize the cards and where that personalization is to go on the cards.