What is a magnetic card?

A magnetic stripe card is a type of card capable of storing data by modifying the magnetism of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material on the card. The magnetic stripe, sometimes called swipe card or magstripe, is read by swiping past a magnetic reading head. Magnetic stripe cards are commonly used in credit cards, identity cards, and transportation tickets. They may also contain an RFID tag, a transponder device and/or a microchip mostly used for business premises access control or electronic payment.

Magnetic recording on steel tape and wire was invented during World War II for recording audio. In the 1950s, magnetic recording of digital computer data on plastic tape coated with iron oxide was invented. In 1960 IBM used the magnetic tape idea to develop a reliable way of securing magnetic stripes to plastic cards, under a contract with the US government for a security system. A number of International Organization for Standardization standards, ISO/IEC 7810, ISO/IEC 7811, ISO/IEC 7812, ISO/IEC 7813, ISO 8583, and ISO/IEC 4909, now define the physical properties of the card, including size, flexibility, location of the magstripe, magnetic characteristics, and data formats. They also provide the standards for financial cards, including the allocation of card number ranges to different card issuing institutions.

What is an IC card?

A smart card, chip card, or integrated circuit card (ICC) is any pocket-sized card with embedded integrated circuits. Smart cards are made of plastic, generally polyvinyl chloride, but sometimes polyethylene terephthalate based polyesters,acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or polycarbonate. Since April 2009, a Japanese company has manufactured reusable financial smart cards made from paper. Smart cards can provide identification, authentication, data storage and application processing. Smart cards may provide strong security authentication for single sign-on (SSO) within large organizations.


What is proximity card?

A proximity card or prox card is a smart card which can be read without inserting it into a reader device, as required by earlier magnetic stripe cards such as credit cards. To use, the proximity card is held near an electronic reader for a moment. The reader usually produces a beep or other sound to indicate the card has been read. Proximity cards typically have a range of around 5 cm (2 inches) for reading. The card can often be left in a wallet or purse, and read by simply holding the wallet or purse near the reader. The term "proximity card" can refer to the older 125 kHz devices or the newer 13.56 MHz contactless smartcards. Proximity cards can hold more data than a magnetic stripe card, for example an electronic funds balance, and so can be used for contactless payment systems. Many major banks are offering such cards.

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