Encoding magnetic stripes

A magnetic stripe is the dark band/stripe which is featured on the reverse of a bank card, for example. The stripe is made up of tiny magnetic particles embedded in a resin.

Operating process

During the encoding process, these particles are magnetized in a direction which is oriented either towards the North or the South pole. Each character on the stripe is encoded with sets of 1s and 0s. The polarity of the magnetic particles is changed to reflect each of those bits.
Changing the magnetization of each particle on the stripe helps encode the binary information that will eventually be decoded by an appropriate reader.


The coercitivity refers to the strength of a magnetic field required to edit data encoded on a magnetic stripe. There are two types of magnetic stripes with different levels of coercitivity:

  • The HiCo (High Coercitivity) magnetic stripes offer a higher level of security against potential damages from third-party magnetic fields.
  • LoCo stripes (Low Coercitivity) are more sensitive to third-party magnetic fields, but are cheaper.

How to encode a plastic card with a magnetic stripe?

The Evolis printers offer magnetic stripe encoders as an option. This highly flexible solution for personalization will fully encode the magnetic stripe of a card within minutes.

Find the Evolis printer that best fits your needs.