Magnetic Encoding is Failing with My Zebra Card Printer

Article ID: 45407931



Topic or Information

Why is my encoding failing? I got a new stack of cards and they're all failing to encode. These cards have a darker stripe than the ones I used to use.

Applies To

This solution is useful for

  • All Zebra Card Printer models.
  • Explaining the magnetic stripe coercivity options. 
  • Proper printer and driver configuration.


Mag encoders must be configured to the same coercivity level of the mag stripe on the cards being used.

Your new cards may have a magnetic stripe which is not compatible with the settings of the encoder. Magnetic stripe cards have a stripe designed for either High or Low Coercivity encoding. It is vital that the card coercivity and the encoder coercivity setting both be either High or Low Coercivity. If the card is high coercivity and the encoder is set for low coercivity (or vice versa), the encoding will fail.

  • The mag encoder head used in our printers is capable of being set to either high or low coercivity. This change can be made via the printer driver in the magnetic encoding settings / advanced settings section of the device settings. (The P620 and P640 encoders are Hi-Co capable only).
  • As a general rule, a low coercivity card has a light brown or tan colored mag stripe and a high coercivity card has a dark brown or black stripe. To be certain, please verify with your card supplier. 

Also see knowledgebase article 0 in the following link for coercivity details. Read More>>


+ Product Codes

  • Performance Class Card Printers
  • Security Class Printers
  • ZXP Series 1 Standard Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 3 Professional Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 7 High Performance Card Printers
  • ZXP Series 8 High Security Retransfer Card Printer