If you’re thinking about adding magnetic stripe encoding to your ID program you may be wondering about the difference between high coercivity and low coercivity magnetic stripe cards. The information on magnetic stripe cards is stored in patterns of positive and negative magnetic fields. Coercivity is a measurement of the amount of energy it takes to change the polarity of those magnetic fields.

Coercivity then also becomes a measure of how long an ID card’s magnetic strip can retain the information encoded on it. Information encoded on a Hi-Co magnetic strip will not be corrupted as quickly as information on a Lo-Co magnetic strip. It would take a stronger magnet to change the unique pattern of magnetic fields on a Hi-Co magnetic strip.
Lo-Co cards usually have a brown stripe, while Hi-Co cards traditionally sport a black stripe. While Hi-Co cards tend to be more expensive than their Lo-Co counterpart, Hi-Co cards will protect the information encoded on the cards for longer. Magnetic stripe cards can be used for a variety of different applications including access control, cashless payment, time and attendance tracking, and customer loyalty programs.
For more information on Hi-Co and Lo-Co cards, including how coercivity is measured, check out our Learning Center. Or browse our selection of magnetic stripe cards.