Mag Stripe Cards: High-Coercivity vs. Low-Coercivity

Mag Stripe Cards: High-Coercivity vs. Low-Coercivity

There are two popular types of magnetic striped cards:

  • high coercivity (HiCo)
  • low coercivity (LoCo)

Wondering which is best for you? The amount of data that can be encoded on to a card with a magnetic stripe is the same for both HiCo and LoCo cards. The primary difference has to do with how difficult it is to encode and erase the information on the stripe. Learn more about the differences:

High-Coercivity Mag Stripe CardsLow-Coercivity Mag Stripe Cards
Typically black in color and encoded with a stronger magnetic fieldTypically brown in color and encoded at a low intensity magnetic field
Harder to erase/more durableEasier to erase
Common in applications where they require a longer card life and are swiped oftenCommon in short term applications
Resistant to damage from most magnets or magnetic fieldsCan be damaged by even a brief contact with a magnetic field
Common Applications  Access control Time and attendance Gift cards Credit cards Employee ID cardsCommon Applications  Hotel room keys Visitor badges Season passes

The most important question to ask yourself is: how long do we want/need the cards to last? All magnetic stripe cards can be reprogrammed, but it can be inconvenient. In most applications, HiCo cards are best. The small difference in price for the HiCo card is worth the value and reliability.

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