How to Add Data to a Magnetic Strip

By Peter Anema
You can learn how to add data to a magnetic strip, such as the ones on credit cards.

A magnetic strip is a data storage device that is used primarily used to store data on cards like credit, identification and gift cards. The information contained on the strip is read by a magnetic card reader that you run the magnetic strip through. If you are creating a batch of magnetic cards, you will need to add the necessary data to the strip to render it active and readable. Using magnetic card data writing software, you can add the information exactly as your situation and needs demand.

Locate the card-writing software on your computer in "All Programs" in the Start menu. Launch the writing program, and wait for it to start up completely.

Select a new card document from the File menu in your writing program. If you already have a card that you are working on, launch the file from its saved location on your computer.

Click on the magnetic strip icon in the toolbox, and select the track you want to enter data onto. You may have up to three available tracks, but you will likely only need to use Track 1 for most common card projects.

Enter the data into the text field in the magnetic strip options window. Click "OK" on the options window when you have completed entering the stripe data.

Select the preview icon on the toolbar to view a rendering of the strip on the card bearing the entered data. Adjust the data until you are satisfied with the strip, then print your card on the magnetic card printer. To use the magnetic card printer, hold the card in your hand and press the magnetic strip into one end of the card printer. With a quick and steady hand, swipe the card until it comes out the other end of the printer.

Tip

Always use the rendering preview before printing your card to avoid printing cards that aren't valid.

Warning

Don't attempt to write magnetic strip data unless you are fully aware of the coding protocol involved or you will improperly write the strip.

About the Author

Based in Pennsylvania, Peter Anema has been writing computer and technology articles since 1997. His work has appeared in “Mac World” magazine and “Extreme PC” magazine. Anema received the George M. Lilly Literary Award in 2001. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in public relations from Harding University.