Magnetic Stripes and Encoding

A magnetic stripe is a strip of magnetic tape attached to a plastic card that is encoded with data, in which you are able to swipe the card with your point of sales machine and are able to keep track of information on the card.

There are two common types of magnetic stripes, Low Coercivity (LoCo) at 300 Oe and High Coercivity (HiCo) at 4000 Oe. The Lo and Hi determines the measure of a magnetic field.

On our standard 2 track LoCo magnetic stripe cards, there are two tracks that you can encode on, Track 1 and 2. Track one can contain numeric or alphanumeric characters. Track two can only contain numeric characters. Encoding can be sequential or can be random numerical sequence. If a random numerical sequence is requested, you will need to provide us with a database with the numbers to use.

When encoding a gift card, a unique serial number is encoded.  This serial number may also be printed in human readable characters on the card. When a gift card is purchased, the magnetic stripe is "swiped" using a card reading device connected to a point of sales (POS) system. The POS recognizes the gift card's unique serial number and prompts the cashier for a value to be assigned to it.

If you are not sure what type of magnetic stripe or encoding your system requires, we strongly recommend contacting your point of sales (POS) system provider. They can assist you with which type of magnetic stripe will work and the necessary characters to be encoded for your particular system.

Questions to ask your point of sales system provider:
• What magnetic stripe coercivity is required for my system?   LoCo or HiCo (We provide a LoCo magnetic stripe)
• What track or tracks should be used to encode the data?   Track 1 and/or 2
• What data should be encoded on the magnetic stripe?   Sequential or Random
If you require random data to be encoded, then we will need a text or excel file with the data to be encoded.
• Are there any specific characters or number of characters necessary to be used in the encoded data?

We will gladly produce a sample encoded magnetic stripe card to your specifications at no charge.
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