A MAGNETIC STRIPE 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. The magnetic stripe, sometimes
called SWIPE CARD or MAGSTRIPE, is read by swiping past a magnetic
reading head . Magnetic stripe cards are commonly used in credit cards
, identity cards , and transportation tickets. They may also contain
Magnetic recording on steel tape and wire was invented in Denmark
around 1900 for recording audio. In the 1950s, magnetic recording of
digital computer data on plastic tape coated with iron oxide was
invented. In 1960
* 1 History * 2 First magnetic striped plastic credit and badge access cards * 3 Bar code encoding developments * 4 Production * 5 Further developments and encoding standards * 6 Magnetic stripe coercivity * 7 Financial cards * 8 United States and Canada driver\'s licenses * 9 Other card types
* 10 Vulnerabilities
* 11 See also * 12 References * 13 External links
The first prototype of magnetic stripe card created by
Magnetic storage was known from World War II and computer data storage in the 1950s.
Forrest Parry , an
FIRST MAGNETIC STRIPED PLASTIC CREDIT AND BADGE ACCESS CARDS
Front side of the first Magnetic Stripe plastic credit card. Note that the narrow magnetic stripe is on the front of the card. It was later switched to the back side. This card was donated by Arthur E Hahn, Jr. to the Computer History Museum (CHM) 1401 N Shoreline Blvd Mountain View, CA 94043. Archived under Lot X7304.2015 on 12/04/2014 Back side of the first Magnetic Stripe plastic credit card. This card was donated by Arthur E Hahn, Jr. to the Computer History Museum (CHM) 1401 N Shoreline Blvd Mountain View, CA 94043. Archived under Lot X7304.2015 on 12/04/2014 Back of early magnetic striped encoded paper card. The narrow magnetic stripe in the center of the card was applied using a magnetic slurry paint. This card was donated by Arthur E Hahn, Jr. to the Computer History Museum (CHM) 1401 N Shoreline Blvd Mountain View, CA 94043. Archived under Lot X7304.2015 on 12/04/2014
The major development of the magnetic striped plastic card began in
1969 at the
BAR CODE ENCODING DEVELOPMENTS
The IRD engineers first had to develop a reliable process of hot
stamping the magnetic stripe to the plastic cards. This was necessary
in order to meet the close tolerances required to reliably encode and
read the data on the Magnetic Stripe Cards by magnetic write/read
heads. The magnetic stripe was encoded with a single track of data
In 1971, after the
Banks, insurance companies, hospitals etc., supplied
* Plastic card feeder station: The cards were fed down a track in
single file from card hoppers.
* Magnetic write/read encoding station: The
This completed the manufacturing line for the magnetic striped encoded and embossed plastic credit and badge access cards. The envelopes were then taken to be posted and mailed directly to the customers of the companies who had ordered the cards from IRD.
What this small engineering group at
The first US Patents for the ATM were granted in 1972 and 1973.
Other groups within
FURTHER DEVELOPMENTS AND ENCODING STANDARDS
There were a number of steps required to convert the magnetic striped media into an industry acceptable device. These steps included:
* Creating the international standards for stripe record content, including which information, in what format, and using which defining codes. * Field testing the proposed device and standards for market acceptance. * Developing the manufacturing steps needed to mass-produce the large number of cards required. * Adding stripe issue and acceptance capabilities to available equipment.
These steps were initially managed by Jerome Svigals of the Advanced
Systems Division of IBM,
Los Gatos, California
In most magnetic stripe cards, the magnetic stripe is contained in a plastic-like film. The magnetic stripe is located 0.223 inches (5.66 mm) from the edge of the card, and is 0.375 inches (9.52 mm) wide. The magnetic stripe contains three tracks, each 0.110 inches (2.79 mm) wide. Tracks one and three are typically recorded at 210 bits per inch (8.27 bits per mm), while track two typically has a recording density of 75 bits per inch (2.95 bits per mm). Each track can either contain 7-bit alphanumeric characters, or 5-bit numeric characters. Track 1 standards were created by the airlines industry (IATA) . Track 2 standards were created by the banking industry (ABA) . Track 3 standards were created by the Thrift-Savings industry.
Magstripes following these specifications can typically be read by
most point-of-sale hardware, which are simply general-purpose
computers that can be programmed to perform specific tasks. Examples
of cards adhering to these standards include ATM cards , bank cards
(credit and debit cards including Visa and
Magnetic stripe cloning can be detected by the implementation of magnetic card reader heads and firmware that can read a signature of magnetic noise permanently embedded in all magnetic stripes during the card production process. This signature can be used in conjunction with common two factor authentication schemes utilized in ATM, debit/retail point-of-sale and prepaid card applications.
Counterexamples of cards which intentionally ignore ISO standards
include hotel key cards, most subway and bus cards, and some national
prepaid calling cards (such as for the country of
MAGNETIC STRIPE COERCIVITY
Detailed visualization of magnetically stored information on a magnetic stripe card (Recorded with CMOS-MagView).
Magstripes come in two main varieties: high-coercivity (HiCo) at 4000 Oe and low-coercivity (LoCo) at 300 Oe , but it is not infrequent to have intermediate values at 2750 Oe. High-coercivity magstripes require higher amount of magnetic energy to encode, and therefore are harder to erase. HiCo stripes are appropriate for cards that are frequently used, such as a credit card. Other card uses include time and attendance tracking, access control, library cards, employee ID cards and gift cards. Low-coercivity magstripes require a lower amount of magnetic energy to record, and hence the card writers are much cheaper than machines which are capable of recording high-coercivity magstripes. However, LoCo cards are much easier to erase and have a shorter lifespan. Typical LoCo applications include hotel room keys, time and attendance tracking, bus/transit tickets and season passes for theme parks. A card reader can read either type of magstripe, and a high-coercivity card writer may write both high and low-coercivity cards (most have two settings, but writing a LoCo card in HiCo may sometimes work), while a low-coercivity card writer may write only low-coercivity cards.
In practical terms, usually low coercivity magnetic stripes are a
light brown color, and high coercivity stripes are nearly black;
exceptions include a proprietary silver-colored formulation on
Magnetic stripe cards are used in very high volumes in the mass
transit sector, replacing paper based tickets with either a directly
applied magnetic slurry or hot foil stripe.
Main article: ISO/IEC 7813
There are up to three tracks on magnetic cards known as tracks 1, 2, and 3. Track 3 is virtually unused by the major worldwide networks, and often isn't even physically present on the card by virtue of a narrower magnetic stripe. Point-of-sale card readers almost always read track 1, or track 2, and sometimes both, in case one track is unreadable. The minimum cardholder account information needed to complete a transaction is present on both tracks. Track 1 has a higher bit density (210 bits per inch vs. 75), is the only track that may contain alphabetic text, and hence is the only track that contains the cardholder's name.
Track 1 is written with code known as DEC SIXBIT plus odd parity . The information on track 1 on financial cards is contained in several formats: A, which is reserved for proprietary use of the card issuer, B, which is described below, C-M, which are reserved for use by ANSI Subcommittee X3B10 and N-Z, which are available for use by individual card issuers:
TRACK 1, Format B:
* START SENTINEL — one character (generally '%') * FORMAT CODE="B" — one character (alpha only) * PRIMARY ACCOUNT NUMBER (PAN) — up to 19 characters. Usually, but not always, matches the credit card number printed on the front of the card. * FIELD SEPARATOR — one character (generally '^') * NAME — 2 to 26 characters * FIELD SEPARATOR — one character (generally '^') * EXPIRATION DATE — four characters in the form YYMM. * SERVICE CODE — three characters * DISCRETIONARY DATA — may include Pin Verification Key Indicator (PVKI, 1 character), PIN Verification Value (PVV, 4 characters), Card Verification Value or Card Verification Code (CVV or CVC, 3 characters) * END SENTINEL — one character (generally '?') * LONGITUDINAL REDUNDANCY CHECK (LRC ) — it is one character and a validity character calculated from other data on the track.
TRACK 2: This format was developed by the banking industry (ABA).
This track is written with a 5-bit scheme (4 data bits + 1 parity),
which allows for sixteen possible characters, which are the numbers
0-9, plus the six characters : ; < = > ? . The selection of six
punctuation symbols may seem odd, but in fact the sixteen codes simply
map to the
* START SENTINEL — one character (generally ';') * PRIMARY ACCOUNT NUMBER (PAN) — up to 19 characters. Usually, but not always, matches the credit card number printed on the front of the card. * SEPARATOR — one char (generally '=') * EXPIRATION DATE — four characters in the form YYMM. * SERVICE CODE — three digits. The first digit specifies the interchange rules, the second specifies authorisation processing and the third specifies the range of services * DISCRETIONARY DATA — as in track one * END SENTINEL — one character (generally '?') * LONGITUDINAL REDUNDANCY CHECK (LRC ) — it is one character and a validity character calculated from other data on the track. Most reader devices do not return this value when the card is swiped to the presentation layer, and use it only to verify the input internally to the reader.
SERVICE CODE values common in financial cards:
First digit 1: International interchange OK 2: International interchange, use IC (chip) where feasible 5: National interchange only except under bilateral agreement 6: National interchange only except under bilateral agreement, use IC (chip) where feasible 7: No interchange except under bilateral agreement (closed loop) 9: Test
Second digit 0: Normal 2: Contact issuer via online means 4: Contact issuer via online means except under bilateral agreement
Third digit 0: No restrictions, PIN required 1: No restrictions 2: Goods and services only (no cash) 3: ATM only, PIN required 4: Cash only 5: Goods and services only (no cash), PIN required 6: No restrictions, use PIN where feasible 7: Goods and services only (no cash), use PIN where feasible
UNITED STATES AND CANADA DRIVER\'S LICENSES
The data stored on magnetic stripes on American and Canadian driver's licenses is specified by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators . Not all states and provinces use a magnetic stripe on their driver's licenses. For a list of those that do, see the AAMVA list.
The following data is stored on track 1:
* START SENTINEL - one character (generally '%') * STATE OR PROVINCE - two characters * CITY - variable length (seems to max out at 13 characters) * FIELD SEPARATOR - one character (generally '^') (absent if city reaches max length) * LAST NAME - variable length * FIELD SEPARATOR - one character (generally '$') * FIRST NAME - variable length * FIELD SEPARATOR - one character (generally '$') * MIDDLE NAME - variable length * FIELD SEPARATOR - one character (generally '^') * HOME ADDRESS (HOUSE NUMBER AND STREET) - variable length * FIELD SEPARATOR - one character (generally '^') * UNKNOWN - variable length * END SENTINEL - one character (generally '?')
The following data is stored on track 2:
* ISO ISSUER IDENTIFIER NUMBER (IIN) - 6 digits * DRIVERS LICENSE / IDENTIFICATION NUMBER - 13 digits * FIELD SEPARATOR — generally '=' * EXPIRATION DATE (YYMM) - 4 digits * BIRTH DATE (YYYYMMDD) - 8 digits * DL/ID# OVERFLOW- 5 digits (If no information is used then a field separator is used in this field.) * END SENTINEL - one character ('?')
The following data is stored on track 3:
* TEMPLATE V# * SECURITY V# * POSTAL CODE * CLASS * RESTRICTIONS * ENDORSEMENTS * SEX * HEIGHT * WEIGHT * HAIR COLOR * EYE COLOR * ID# * RESERVED SPACE * ERROR CORRECTION * SECURITY
Note: Each state has a different selection of information they encode, not all states are the same. Note: Some states, such as Texas, have laws restricting the access and use of electronically readable information encoded on driver's licenses or identification cards under certain circumstances.
OTHER CARD TYPES
Smart cards are a newer generation of card that contain an integrated
circuit . Some smart cards have metal contacts to electrically connect
the card to the reader , and contactless cards use a magnetic field or
radio frequency (
Hybrid smart cards include a magnetic stripe in addition to the chip — this is most commonly found in a payment card , so that the cards are also compatible with payment terminals that do not include a smart card reader.
Cards with all three features: magnetic stripe, smart card chip, and