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Definition: magnetic stripe


A small length of magnetic tape adhered to credit cards, badges, permits, passes and tokens. The tape is read by magnetic stripe readers incorporated into ATMs, identification readers and payment terminals. Due to the daily, heavy wear these cards receive, the digital recording on the stripe is in a very low-density format and often duplicated several times in case part of the stripe becomes damaged. See smart card.




Magnetic Stripes
The uses of magnetic stripes are a testimony to their durability. Adhered to credit cards and a variety of other plastic or paper cards, the low-density tape recording is designed to withstand abrasion from daily use.






Old and New Together
Cards with magnetic stripes have been around since the late 1960s, and they co-exist with chip cards and wireless payment methods today. See smart card and NFC.