A magnetic stripe reader or magstripe reader is a device that can read the encoded information that is located on the back of plastic ID badges, credit cards, and other types of cards. The magnetic stripe reader read this information through a computer program using an USB connection, a serial port, or a keyboard wedge. Magnetic card readers are often categorized by the way that they read the badges. For example, an insertion reader will require that the badge be inserted into the reader and then pulled out quickly. This is the type of reader found at many ATMs and gas pumps. A swipe reader will require that the ID badge be swiped completely through the reader.
What is a Magnetic Stripe?
The magnetic stripe that is found on the back of many ID cards and credit cards is made out of iron based particles that are magnetic. These particles are encased in some form of tape. Each of the magnetic particles within the stripe is tiny bar magnets that are about a 20 millionth of an inch in size. When each of these bars has the same polarization the stripe is blank.
Information can be written on these stripes using magnetization. The tiny bars will be pointed in either a north or south direction using an encoder, which is a special electromagnetic writer. This writing process is called flux reversal and will cause a change in the magnetic field. This change can then be detected or read by the magnetic card reader. Since there are two flux reversals, either S-S or N-N, there can be two states of information. This is similar to the binary function that is used for computers. The magnetic stripe reader will then read the information by detecting the changes that have been made in the magnetic field from the flux reversals that are on the badges magnetic stripe.
Magnetic stripes have been around for a very long time. This is one of the most popular ways to encode data onto an ID badge. The main reason for this is because it provides a simple and reliable reading solution for data management needs.
Magnetic stripe readers are small, lightweight, and they can be affixed to almost any keyboard or placed on any type of flat surface. There is no external power or program driver required to use a magnetic stripe reader, which makes them extremely versatile to use.
The cost for a magnetic stripe reader is extremely affordable, which allows businesses to install them quite easily. These magnetic stripe readers are used in all types of businesses that take any form of credit card. In addition, many companies install magnetic stripe readers as a way to keep track of employee information. Employees are provided with ID badges that have magnetic stripes with their information on them. When the card is swiped through the magnetic card reader their employee information is recorded in the computer. This makes time keeping and access control quite easy.