Magnetic Stripe Readers

  • What is encoded on other magnetic stripe cards?

    Almost universally, track two will hold the card number, and where used, the card expiry date.

    What’s on the other tracks, if there’s anything at all, is totally up to the manufacturer.

  • What information is stored on a financial card?

    Typically, a credit or debit card will use all three tracks, although only track two is needed for most non-bank applications.

    Track two contains the card number, the expiry date, and some other bank-specific information.

    Track one usually contains the card holder’s name, and the card number, along with other bank-specific information.

    Track three is bank-specific.

    The card’s PIN (Personal Identification Number) is not stored on the card.

  • What information can be stored on a magnetic stripe card?

    The magnetic stripe card standard for financial cards (ie credit and debit cards) allow for three tracks, called, not surprisingly, tracks one, two and three.

    Track one can contain up to 79 alpha numeric characters, while tracks two and three can contain up to 40 and 107 numeric characters respectively.

    Note that track one is the only track in the financial card standard that can contain letters – the other tracks can contain numbers only.

  • What are high coercivity cards?

    The magnetic strip on high coercivity cards (also called high energy cards) are made up of magnetic particles that are not easily altered by magnetic fields.

    For example, when a high coercivity card comes into contact with items such as a magnetic screwdriver or magnetic clasp, the information on the card is far less likely to be affected, unlike standard low coercivity cards (also called low energy cards).

    Although both types of cards can be read with standard magnetic stripe readers, different equipment is required to encode each type of card.

  • How can I read a Medicare card?

    The card number and card expiry date information is encoded on track two, so you’ll need a track two magnetic stripe reader.

    The data on a Medicare card is arranged in four fields, each separated by an = character. The first field can be ignored, the second field is the first nine characters of the card number, the third field is the tenth digit of the card number, and the final field is the card expiry date, in ddmmyy format.

  • Can a magnetic stripe reader read all the tracks on a card at once?

    Yes. Most magnetic stripe readers today are manufactured to read all tracks, and can be configured to output any combination of tracks, such as track two only, tracks one and three, all tracks, and so on.

  • Where can I download user manuals?

    The manuals for most ASP equipment are available from our web site here. If you need a manual that isn’t listed, please leave us a message on our Contact Us page.

    Please note that our manuals are in Adobe .PDF format – if you don’t already have the free Adobe reader, you can download it from Adobe’s web site.