We don’t think about it until it fails to work and we barely even notice that it’s omnipresent on virtually every card we own but what exactly is behind that magical black magnetic stripe?
Whether it’s your credit card, transit card, or library card, or perhaps your hotel key or building access control card, it has a magnetic stripe that uses one of two types of coercivity to transmit the information necessary for you to live your life. Depending on the amount of information that needs to be stored and the relative life expectancy of the card, the magnetic stripe will be one of two types.
Low-coercivity cards (LoCo) require a lower amount of magnetic energy on which to record data and are thus easier to erase and have a shorter lifespan. This technology is used prominently in the hotel industry, where room keys with LoCo magnetic stripes technology can be easily transferred from guest to guest after a quick trip through the card machine.
These cards are also widely used for access control in businesses that require employee verification for entry to a variety of locations throughout the workplace. Often times a singular LoCo card can be used to access parking, gain building entry, and operate elevators.
Capture Technologies, a technology reseller located in Oakland, has a supplied a LoCo magnetic card solution to a number of its clients including small businesses throughout Northern California and school districts as well as numerous corporate customers.
High-coercivity cards (HiCo) need a much larger dose of magnetic energy to record the data found on things such as credit cards and are much more difficult to erase. This relative durability is critical for these cards because of the intensely sensitive nature of information contained on credit and debit cards.
A difference between the two types of magnetic stripe cards is their ability to resist demagnetization. For example, if you carry your hotel room key (LoCo) next to your cell phone it likely will become demagnetized, losing the information needed for you to gain room access.
Capture has done a number of deals with organizations looking for these HiCo cards. Bear River Casino, Table Mountain Casino, and Jackson Rancheria have all used Capture for their magnetic card solutions and the company has served local unions and colleges as well.
Your credit card (HiCo) can ride alongside your cell phone and not be vulnerable to the same effects. This same scenario is played out repeatedly by a variety of other magnetic devices, effecting one kind of magnetic card but not the other.