A wholesale manufacturer of magnetic striped
PET, PVC and paper for the card industry

Technical

FAQ

JCP is dedicated to assisting its’ customers relating to magnetic cards and the FAQs below are provided to assist all that may encounter similar issues or that have been experienced by others in the card manufacturing business.

If you have a question you want to know about magnetic stripes or problems you may be having with your magnetic cards, please click the below link. JCP responds to all our customer concerns in a timely manner.

Have a question? Click here.

A question un-asked is a thought wasted. (JCP)

Question 1: Where can I find or buy information on magnetic striped cards and card construction?

Question 2: My customer has requested a 3,600oe HiCo tape. Does this tape exist?

Question 3: My customer claims that the PVC card we sent them does not work. What’s wrong with the magnetic stripe?

Question 4: The PVC overlay sheets we received has the tape coming off when we tape test the bond.

Question 5: Is all HiCo the same?

Question 6: My mag stripe PET cards are not flat like my credit cards after I laminate them. What can I do to have a flat PET (polyester) card?

Question 7: Should I go from LoCo to HiCo so my cards last longer?

Question 8: The coated sheets I received are not laminating right. Do you have a different coating for the coated PVC sheets than what I received?

Question 1: Where can I find or buy information on magnetic striped cards and card construction?

Answer 1: ISO/IEC document

Question 2: My customer has requested a 3,600oe HiCo tape. Does this tape exist?

Answer 2: As far as we know, this specific coercivity level is no longer available. This request is most likely an old specification (1989) from 3M’s magnetic tape division that your customer has run across from years ago. 3M shut down their tape manufacturing division sometime in the mid to late 1990’s.

The original 3600oe HiCo tape was 3M’s 5203 product line. This tape was the common HiCo tape used in the industry at the time for ID and Security type of cards. JCP consumed more than 60% of all tape produced world wide at the time before 3M closed down operations. This tape had a signal output of between 160% to 245% compared to the 300oe tapes (LoCo) 100% output used at the time.

One of the uses for this tape was the 1/8” HiCo debit type applications which JCP provided at the time. JCP now offers its own version in 2750oe – 190% output for the card manufacturing market.
A synopsis regarding HiCo tape follows:

  1. 2750 Oersted ISO signal output (100%);
  2. 2750 Oersted with 190% high output for Debitek, Danyl, and Girovend applications; (JCP is the only company that currently offers this version) available in .125” (3.3mm) and ½” (12.7mm) widths.
  3. 4000 Oersted ISO signal output (100%);
  4. 4000 Oersted with 150% to 160% high output for ????? applications;
  5. 3M #5203 2900 to 4000 Oersted with 160% to 245% signal output (no longer available);
  6. 3M #5204 2900 to 4000 Oersted with ISO output (no longer available)

3600 Oersted is not available or at least being advertised in the market place.

Question 3: My customer claims that the PVC card we sent them does not work. What’s wrong with the magnetic stripe?

Answer 3: JCP will need to evaluate the card(s) to properly and accurately provide a number of possible causes and recommend a course of action to resolve the complaint.

When you send us a card or cards for evaluation, we will need as much information as you can get from your customer concerning the claimed defective cards.

Note: JCP will require a couple of cards claimed to not work (make sure they have been encoded) and a couple of cards they say work, also encoded for a comparison base line.

  1. What manufacture and type of encoder and readers are they using?
  2. What is the exact complaint about the card? It won’t encode, it won’t read, it works the first time then just sometimes after that, it has problems when we try to encode new info on it? The more info you can pull out of your customer about their issues, the easier it will be for us to track down the problem and give you some solutions. A happy customer returns, the rest go to your competitor. (JCP)
  3. Is the encoding ISO or is it a custom encoding. Our test equipment is designed to evaluate to ISO encoding standards. We will re-encode the card after all our other tests to verify compliance with the appropriate ISO/IEC document based on magnetic type.
  4. What tape type (HiCo, 650oe or LoCo) are they trying to encode? Check that they are using the correct encoding settings, i.e. HiCo for HiCo or LoCo for LoCo. We will also need to know what type of tape you think you sent them. All black tape is not HiCo, all HiCo is not 2750oe and all colored tapes are not HiCo.
  5. Verify when the last time their encoder and reader was serviced and how often they clean the heads on both. Most times it’s a dirty head that causes issues.

Question 4: The PVC overlay sheets we received has the tape coming off when we tape test the bond.

Answer 4: The tape applied to PVC sheets are designed to only be tack bonded. Full bonding only occurs during lamination. The tapes should not fall off the sheets when handled or slightly smoothed out to the cores for tacking.

Question 5: Is all HiCo the same?

Answer 5: No! We could leave it at that but let us try to explain the basics without getting overly technical.

  1. The primary HiCo used today is 2750oe and 4000oe. (Ref. ISO/IEC 7811-6). The range may be 2,500oe thru 4,200oe (ISO/IEC 7811-6, D.3 Table D.1 (1.).
  2. There are major tape manufactures for magnetic tape in the USA, Japan, France and Australia that most card manufactures currently use for their cards. There are others that manufacture magnetic tape in the world; we’ll only address the ones JCP uses. While all these manufactures use primarily the same type of oxide (the magnetic element) used to make HiCo, the physical properties may be quite different. The mix, like making a cake, has different elements to get the end result and the quality of the particle and the milling methods used by the various tape manufactures may be unique to them. JCP has a VSM that can define these differences. All tapes we use pass our internal review prior to release to production, we don’t rely on the vendors claim for compliance to ISO/IEC 7811-2 (LoCo), 7811-8 (650oe) or 7811-6 (HiCo).
  3. The construction of the tapes are different and each has its plus and minus sides to their use, both during manufacture for applying the tape, during final card lamination and the ultimate test is the field.
  4. Field use (how long will the card last in the hands of the end user before the stripe can’t be read or work) is a customer / vendor specific issue. All tapes have a protective coating over the oxide (the magnetic stuff that holds the encoding) and how good this coating is depends on the vendor that makes the tape. While all tapes pass ISO criteria for this wear testing, some last longer than others.

Question 6: My mag stripe PET cards are not flat like my credit cards after I laminate them. What can I do to have a flat PET (polyester) card?

Answer 6: Good question with no perfect solution, YET! The PET film manufacturers are getting closer to solving this issue however. First of all, the mag stripe has no impact on how flat a card will be. The PET film manufactures are now providing film that has, what they are calling ‘mapped film’, that greatly reduces the twist or torque a card has when laminated.

JCP can supply film that is mapped and matched, (the striped side and the clear side of the roll) or you can request a film manufacture to send us one side of the film and you the other side. We will stripe one part and you will then match it to its’ mate during lamination. Contact your film supplier for their specific mapping scheme for details and how they minimize the film torque when laminated from their material.

Basically film mapping is taking the matching outside areas from each master roll of film and working inward as it’s slit to your width and using only those slits to be laminated to each other.

As an example let’s say it’s possible to get 10 slits from a master roll of film, based on the width you need. Slit #1 comes from the left side of the web and slit #10 is from the right side of the web. For lamination purposes. Slits 1 and 10, 2 and 9, 3 and 8 etc. are used as the ‘mapped sets’. Using any other combination of slits together will have varying degrees of twist or torque in the finished card.

Let us know what your needs are and we will be able to get you on the road to flatter cards when we magnetic stripe PET product for you.

Question 7: Should I go from LoCo to HiCo so my cards last longer?

Answer 7: Good question but it depends on what you mean by lasting longer. The coercivity and the output level of a tape have no bearing on card life other than its ability to retain the encoding. HiCo tapes have a greater resistance to erasure than LoCo cards, so technically they will last longer in the field if that is the only issue you are faced with..

The type of tape you use is based on a number of issues, being use and specific criteria for each customer. LoCo [300oe] and HiCo [2750oe / 4000oe] (ISO output) and Med-Co [650oe] all have the same basic output targets @ 100% (like the volume control on your stereo). Most all readers in use today don’t care what the tape type is made of, they are just looking for the output signal (retained magnetic charge if you will) the tapes hold within the magnetic oxide.

The encoders that put the info on the magnetic stripe however must be designed to properly encode (saturate the oxide / coercivity level). A LoCo encoder will not encode a HiCo card nor will a HiCo encoder work to encode a LoCo card. There are encoders that have both function capabilities but they need to be set for the correct encoding type to work correctly. The higher the coercivity, the more POWER the unit needs to encode the magnetic tape. Not all encoders are equal, just like cars are not all equal. Quality is the key in any product. You get what you pay for, so check around on who’s the best if you don’t want problems. JCP recommends MAGTEK equipment. http://www.magtek.com/

Question 8: The coated sheets I received are not laminating right. Do you have a different coating for the coated PVC sheets  than what I received?

Answer 8: JCP is not versed in all phases of PVC lamination issues so we defer to the experts, your laminating equipment vendor and Waytek, our coated PVC supplier. The coatings and PVC we use are purchased from Waytek, using either their W35 or W39 coatings. Both these coatings are designed for both UV and conventional heat set inks but may act differently with what you are trying to do. Please see below PDF document from Waytek that may address some of your lamination concerns.

While JCP supplies magnetic striped PVC to our customers, we have a general understanding of PVC properties and the basic differences from different film suppliers. JCP and Waytek use film from CPPC. Please contact your laminating equipment manufacturer for tips on the lamination issue and contact Waytek (http://www.waytekcorp.com) for additional help regarding your specific lamination issues if it is coated PVC. 

Waytek lamination document

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