Ordinarily, magnetic card readers often read and interpret information that is encoded on a magnetic stripe at the back of common items such as id cards, gift cards or credit cards. Today, magnetic card readers are perhaps some of the most used items in business and social transactions. There are instances where magnetic card readers are used for identification purposes such as in the case of a ballot scanner, id readers, identity scanner and a passport scanner. Despite their importance in business and identification purposes, few people understand how a magnetic card reader works. The magnetic stripe that is found at the back of the reader has iron magnetic particles that are covered with a plastic tape. When the iron-based magnetic particles are polarized in the same direction, the magnetic stripe is expected to be blank. It is the electromagnetic writer referred to as the encoder that allows information to be written on the magnetic stripe by magnetizing the particles in either south or North Pole directions. Information is then written on magnetic card readers through a process known as flux reversal whereby a magnetic field that is detectable by a magnetic strip reader is created.

How Does a Magnetic Card Reader Work?
In terms of how they work, magnetic card readers are also referred to as mag stripe readers. They are able to transfer data to computer programs using the keyboard, serial port, USB or wedge connection. The categorization of magnetic stripe card readers is based on how they read badges. For example, insertion card readers require that the plastic badge is fully inserted into the reader while swipe readers only require that the badge is swiped through them completely. Today, the use of card readers is not limited to business and social transactions. We have driver’s license card reader, ic reader, contactless reader and handheld id card scanner. The use of magnetic card readers is predominantly in superstores, restaurants, banks and offices in order to simplify business transactions. It is estimated that quite a huge percentage of Americans have passports and a passport scanner is what is used to provide personal information of each individual from the passport’s magnetic stripes.

Choosing a Magnetic Card Reader
Choosing the right magnetic card reader for your business or social transactions is not as easy as it sounds. However efficient they are, magnetic card readers have their flaws too. For instance, make sure that the magnetic card reader is accurate and can be relied upon to read badges without errors. For example, an ID card reader should process the personal information of a driving license holder without any glitches. More importantly, a good magnetic card reader should be durable such that it can handle multiple card insertions for a relatively long period of time. The warranty claim should be long enough to cover multiple card readings. When choosing magnetic card readers, make sure that the reader has visual indicators that tell when a transaction is valid or invalid. Having a reader with both audio and visual feedback services is not a bad idea for smoother operations. Lastly, the magnetic stripe reader should only be used for the intended purpose it was designed for. For example, a credit card reader should not be used for ID cards and vice versa. The bottom-line is that you should always use magnetic card readers for their intended purpose.