We may usually see the magnetic cards in our daily lives. For example, the magnetic key card for the door access, the magnetic credit cards for the payment, the magnetic ID cards for our personal information storage, and so on. However, do you know their specific applications and using precaution?

magnetic card for door

In this blog, we would discuss the definition, internal structure, classification, applications, and precautions of the magnetic swipe cards. Maybe it will help you with your confusion. Firstly, you can check the following table of contents to take a fast glance at the main content of this article:

Table of Contents

What is Magnetic Card?

The magnetic card, also called the magnetic stripe card or swipe card, is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card, and it may even contain an RFID chip sometimes.

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magnetic card with chip

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Actually, the magnetic stripe card is an intermediate process in the card production process: printing material → fixing → binding magnetic stripe → laminating. Next, let’s check its internal structure!

Magnetic Card Internal Structure

The magnetic stripe is divided into three tracks:

  • There are 79 bytes in track one, numbers and characters can be input, only readable.
  • The second track has 40 bytes, only numbers can be input, and it can only be read.
  • The track 3 has 107 bytes, and only numbers can be input, which can be read and written.

Track 3 is hardly used by major global networks, and due to the narrow magnetic stripe, it usually doesn’t even exist on the card. Point-of-sale card readers almost always read track 1 or track 2, sometimes both, just in case one of the tracks is unreadable.

To complete the transaction, the cardholder account information should exist on both tracks. Track 1 has a higher bit density (210 bits per inch versus 75 bits per inch), and is the only track that may contain alphabetic text, and therefore the only track that contains the cardholder’s name.

The magstripe color is generally black, silver and gold, with black being the most common. The magstripe width is 12.7mm and 8.4mm, with 12.7mm being the most common. Well, do you know how to divide magnetic stripe cards? You can find your answer next part. 

Classification of Magnetic Card

The unit of magnetic field strength is Oersted (oe for short). Magnetic stripe cards are generally divided into 300 oe, 650 oe, 2750 oe and 4000 oe. Among them, 300 oe is a low coercivity strip, referred to as Loco, 2750 oe and 4000 oe are high coercivity strips, referred to as Hico. The high coercivity strip can store more information, and its safety factor is higher, and harder to be damaged.

Magnetic Swipe Cards Applications

bank cards, securities, insurance, credit cards, quasi-credit cards, ATM cards, ATM cards, debit cards, transfer cards, special cards, stored-value cards, co-branded cards, commercial cards, personal cards, companies Card, Social Security Card, Social Security Card, Securities Trading Card…

magnetic credit card

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

Social security: life and accident insurance cards, health cards

Transportation and tourism: car insurance card, travel card, room card lock, passport card, parking card, pay TV card, highway toll card, check card

Medical treatment: outpatient card, health check card, blood donation card, diagnostic chart card, blood type card, health record card, maternity card, medical record card, insurance card, prescription card

Special documents: ID card, temporary residence card, seal registration card, tax-free card…

Education: CAI card, library card, student ID, report card, tutoring card, transcript…

Entertainment: video game card, karaoke card, entertainment card, theater card

Others: factory automation card, operator card, quality control card, access control card, work card, personal record card, family security card, etc.

Using Precautions

  1. Avoid prolonged contact with magnetic materials or objects that generate magnetic fields when working. For instance, the magnets, radios, TV sets, tape recorders, speakers, mobile phones…
  2. Do not place the card near high temperature or humidity environment.


All in all, magnetic stripe cards have been widely used in all kinds of fields and helped more and more people solve various problems, which contribute much to high efficient work, convenient life, and society improvement. If you want to customize magnetic stripe cards or other cards, wristbands, tags… you can contact us to get some useful information~

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