How Reliable Are Magnetic Stripe Cards?

Magnetic Stripe Cards

Many businesses and organisations use a combination of different products and technologies to improve their access control, including magnetic stripe cards, proximity cards, or other new generations of smart card access control.

With the changing security landscape and compliance requirements, however, you may be wondering if magstripe cards are still a good option. In this post, our professional commercial locksmiths share valuable insight on magnetic stripe (also known as magswipe) cards to help entrepreneurs choose the right access control technology for their offices.

What are magnetic stripe cards?

Also known as swipe card access control, magstripe cards are considered a low-security solution. They work using a reader and low coercivity (LoCo) and high coercivity (HiCo) magnetic cards.

Magstripe technology can have a range of applications not limited to access control. For instance, you can use the card for claiming cafeteria meals or checking out books from the local library.

HiCo vs. LoCo cards

Coercivity refers to the card’s resistance to getting demagnetised. With that said, HiCo and LoCo represent the different standards of security and durability in magswipe cards.

Coercivity is typically measured in Oersted. HiCo stripes are magnetically harder, while LoCo stripes are softer. With a HiCo card, it can run as high as 4,000 Oe, although most HiCo cards only go up to 2,750 Oe. On the other hand, a LoCo card may only have about 300 Oe.

In business usage, LoCo fits cards that require data to be changed frequently or aren’t used as much, such as hotel key cards. Credit cards, however, benefit more from using HiCo since they’re used more often and are expected to be more durable.

Benefits of using magswipe cards

  • Low cost compared to other card technologies
  • More secure than barcodes
  • More data capacity than most barcodes
  • Data can be updated or rewritten as required

What can damage a magnetic stripe card?

Wear and tear is one of the common reasons why magnetic stripe cards stop working. The data on the card may no longer be readable, which prevents you from entering the desired area. This tends to happen with hotel card key locks.

To prevent damages to your card, keep it in a card protector sleeve or store it away from other cards or your cellphone — anything that may rub against the card.

Other options for increasing commercial security

Most established businesses utilise a combination of different products and systems to create a more robust security network.

Proximity cards, for instance, function more or less like a mag swipe card. Instead of using magnets, however, they use radio-frequency identification (RFID) technology to communicate with a proximity reader.

Regardless if you choose magswipe cards or proximity cards, your office should also have updated security systems if you want to reduce any holes in your commercial security. You may also install other access control technology such as a biometric fingerprint scanner to security doors as a deterrent to criminals.

Let Apex Locksmiths help you choose the right access control system

Our team of professional locksmiths has helped both small and large enterprises, so you can be sure we have the right tools and experience to help you. If you’d like to know more about magnetic stripe cards or if you’d like suggestions on which access control systems Sydney work best for your office, give us a call on (02) 9569 4807.