Difference Between Encoder Coercivity

Article ID: 91810188

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Topic or Information

Determining the Coercivity of you Magnetic Stripe Cards

Applies To

This solution is useful for

  • Media selection.
  • Printer compatibility

Symptoms addressed by this solution include

  • Encoding errors.
  • Life-span of encoded data.

Details

There are 2 available mag stripe cards - High-coercivity (HiCo) and Low-coercivity (LoCo). Coercivity, measured in Oersteads, is the measurement of magnetic field strength needed to encode on cards:
  • Zebra 104523-112 PVC cards are Low Coercivity.
  • Zebra 104523-113 PVC cards and 104524-103 Composite cards, are High Coercivity. 
  • For non-Zebra cards, the Oerstead (Oe) levels may be listed on the package. Lo-Co will be 300 Oe, and Hi-Co will be 2750 Oe to 4000 Oe. Lo-Co cards generally have a light brown mag stripe, Hi-Co will have a black mag stripe. The Zebra driver will allow you to select and apply the Coercivity level so the printer’s encoder can match the Coercivity level of the card.
  • As HiCo cards are written to using a higher energy field the information on them is difficult to erase by accident - this makes them useful for applications where the data must be stored long term e.g. company access card, bank card... 
    LoCo cards are for short term applications, such as hotel keys, as the data can be deleted from the card by proximity to magnets (eg blackberry wallets).