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Magnetic Stripe Card

Reviewed by Vishnu | Updated on Sep 30, 2020

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What Is a Magnetic Stripe Card?

A magnetic stripe card is a type of card in which the data is embedded on an iron-based magnetic strip by modifying the magnetism of the particles on the strip. A magnetic stripe card is generally used in transportation tickets, identity cards, and credit cards. They can be read by swiping it through a magnetic reading head.

Companies make the use of the magnetic stripe cards embedded with an RFID tag or microchip to monitor access of employees in the business premises.

Understanding Magnetic Stripe Card

Magnetic stripe cards are also referred to as magstripe or swipe cards, and they have information, such as the cardholder’s name and the issuing company embedded in them.

Once the magstripe is swiped past the reading head, the embedded data is decoded by the reader to authorise the transaction. The transaction can be anything from allowing an employee to enter the premises of a building or money that a customer pays with a credit card.

Breaking Down Magnetic Stripe Card

A magnetic stripe generally consists of three tracks stacked horizontally. Each track extends along the width of the credit card. The data embedded on each track, however, is different and can hold various types of data. It can contain information, such as the credit card’s account number, name of the cardholder, card verification code, service code, and date of expiry.

Generally, in the case of credit cards, only the first two tracks on the magnetic stripe contain the credit card details. The third track is rarely used and if used include information, such as the currency code or country code.

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