Magstrip durability


(Patrick) #1

The magstrip on my card is pretty wrecked. The navy blue is scratched off, quite deep scrapes in places, with a silvery colour and white underneath.

I was wondering how durable the strip is - does the rest of the height of the strip carry the same information, meaning that this won’t cause a problem? Or is it likely to fail if I ever have to use the magstrip?


(Hugh) #2

There are 3 tracks on the magstripe, about 1
0.2/0.3cm each. The data for cards is only stored on tracks 1 and 2.
Magstripe is fairly robust and obviously it depends how much data is stored as to whether it will be affected by the scratches! If you actually need to use magstripe reliably it might be worth getting a new card now. If that’s a prepaid one you’ll be upgrading to the current account soon anyway and you’ll get a new card :+1: else, just message COPs in app and explain :slight_smile:


(Allie) #3

If data is only stored on tracks one and two, why do British Visa and MasterCard cards have three tracks? American Express cards (worldwide) only have two tracks, American Visa and MasterCard only have two tracks, and many other cards around the world only have two tracks.

While I’ve never read it, I assumed that the three-track stripe on UK-issued Visa/MasterCard cards was because something was being stored on the third track. Otherwise, it’s just a bigger, uglier magstripe for no reason.


(Hugh) #4

I have, and can assure you there is nothing on track 3 :slight_smile:

3 tracks is the “industry standard” and I guess in the UK we just have 3 tracks because of some obscure specification that has existed for many years. I have no idea but it is there, with no data on it.

When I get home I’ll post a dump from my defunct prepaid card for you.


(Allie) #5

Fab, I had a magstripe reader at uni in the US, but lost it in a move somewhere along the way, so I’ve never checked my UK cards magstripes (tho I do have contactless and contact chip readers). It seems so silly, especially as Amex cards here don’t have it!

Thanks again!


(system) #6

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