stack of plastic cards

Magnetic Stripe and The Plastic Card – A Revolutionary Combination

Magnetic stripes have become an essential part of plastic card printing. Here we take a look at just how the magnetic stripe came about.

Several decades ago, back in 1960, an IBM engineer by the name of Forest Parry set upon the task of combining a magnetic strip which at the time was a popular storage means and a plastic card. After many attempts using different glues and adhesives, Forest finally figured out that by applying a moderate heat over the magnetic strip on the plastic card, would bond the two materials together without damaging the data on the strip which the other adhesive methods had done.

Even so, there still were steps and obstacles to take this technology to the mass market. To be able to take magnetic striped plastic cards to market, the following issues had to be addressed.

  1. Firstly the basic fundamentals had to be laid down so that all storage devices worked off the same universal platform, which meant the defining codes and what format the information was to be placed on the magnetic strip all had to be developed. These were in fact the creation of the international standards for magnetic storage cards.
  2. Intensive testing had to be undertaken for these storage cards as they were going to be introduced to the mass market. This meant that durability and condition tests were needed to make sure that they were fit for day to day usage.
  3. If these cards were to be introduced they would need to be mass produced. This meant that the manufacturing steps and processes had to be all developed to handle mass production.
  4. The terminals that were needed to accept the information from the card would need to be developed.

All these steps were worked on and solved throughout the mid 1960s to the mid 1970s and were overseen by IBM engineer Jerome Svigals. This project was defining the future in the way we use this type of technology on a daily basis and it has paved the way for use in credit cards, plastic ID cards, key cards and basically all types of plastic cards.

All types of point of sale hardware can read the information off a magnetic striped plastic card. On a magnetic strip there are 3 tracks that all store different parts of information. Generally speaking track 3 is obsolete and used only in rare instances, where as track 1 and track 2 on a magnetic strip are used in most cases including all types of credit and debit cards.

The following types of cards all use the above magnetic striped system:

As you can see nearly all types of plastic cards that we use on a daily basis are used with this technology. Nearly every wallet in all westernised societies will have one of the above plastic cards, with access to all types of personal and financial information.

Latest News

  • How an Effective Communications Strategy can Reduce Event Customer Service Volumes

    As well as ensuring attendees are well-stocked with all the right information for the day itself, a properly planned communication

    Read More
  • The UK’s Best Cities for Hosting Conferences (Outside of London)

    With the UK getting closer and closer to fully “re-opening” following the pandemic, events and conferences are sure to follow

    Read More
  • HR Advice for Managing Employee Punctuality and Attendance Policies

    As a way of limiting issues with lateness and attendance, an employee attendance policy helps to boost punctuality and productivity in the workplace. Here, we’ll show you how to plan, implement and monitor a proper policy for your employees.

    Read More
  • A Guide to Standard ID Card Sizes

    In this guide, we’ll look at the various sizes of ID cards, what they can be used for and why size does matter when it comes to your cards.

    Read More
  • 7 Tips to a successful Loyalty Programme

    A successful loyalty programme is a mix of strong design, implementation, promotion and maintenance. We’ll show you how to achieve all of those using effective strategies and approaches.

    Read More
  • How to Use Membership Schemes to Learn More About Your Core Customer

    A membership scheme that keeps your most loyal customers coming back for more can be a powerful part of your

    Read More
  • A Guide to Types of Business Authentication

    We’re taking a look at authentication in more detail, including why it matters so much and the various types that are available to your business right now.

    Read More
  • Mitigating Risk: The Dangers of Misuses of Employee Access to Digital and Physical Data

    The sad fact is employee data misuse is on the rise, with over a third of data breaches happening as

    Read More
  • How Much Money Does British Business Lose to Stolen Time?

    We’ve launched a survey to investigate the UK’s habits, thoughts, and opinions on time theft at work.

    Read More
  • Everything to Think About Before You Begin Your Business Rebrand

    Rebranding is a common strategy for rejuvenating a business and bringing it more in line with customer expectations. But there’s

    Read More
to-top-icon

BACK TO TOP