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Can magstripes be added to cards, key tags, and combo cards?

Yes. Plastic Resource can add magstripes to cards, key tags, and combo cards depending on the nature of the encoding/numbering required on the key tags and combo cards. Contact us at sales@plasticresource.com or 833-290-5684 for additional information.

My point-of-sale or credit card processor will not provide me the encoding instructions and/or is charging me for the encoding file. What do I do?

A few POS and credit card processors will not provide the encoding instructions or the file containing the unique numbering to their customers. Often times we have a “work around” for such situations. Contact us at sales@plasticresource.com or 833-290-5684.

What are the most common barcodes used for key tags and gift cards?

The most common barcode is referred to as Code 39 or Code 3 of 9. Code 39 uses a combination of letters, numbers 0-9 and special characters ($, %, +). Typically cards and key tags are encoded with a random, 8-digit number. Code 128 and UPC A are other types of barcodes that can be found on cards and key tags.

What are the most common encoding instructions for magstripes?

Encoding instructions vary greatly for magstripe cards. Card are encoded on either track 1, track 2 or both tracks of a magstripe (think of track as a line in a paragraph). The number of encoded characters generally ranges from 8 to 16 and may require a specific start number or numbering sequence. Please feel free to contact us with specific system or card encoding questions.

What are the most common encoding/numbering conventions for key tags and combo cards?

Most software systems that utilize key tags and combo cards to identify members or loyalty programs utilize barcodes rather than magstripes. Code 3 of 9 is the most common barcode format.

What is card “encoding?”

Encoding is a fancy way of saying unique numbering. Gift, loyalty and membership card and key numbering may be consecutive, random or based on an algorithm and may include letters and special characters. Card and key tag numbers are embedded into magstripes, barcodes or QR codes. The specific encoding format we use with your custom cards and key tags depends on the system you will be using them with. Please feel free to contact us with specific system or card encoding questions.

What is the difference between a magstripe and a barcode?

Not much. Both are mechanisms for embedding a number that references a record in a database on a software system. Magstripes are read by magstripe readers while barcodes are read by barcode scanners.

Who provides the data, and what formats can it be supplied in?

Your point-of-sale software (POS), credit card processor or gift card software provider will provide you with either:

  • The data/encoding instructions (e.g. number of digits, type of barcode, track on the magstripe); Plastic Resource will create the numbering sequence and save it for future order purposes.
  • Or, a file with the card numbers in text (.txt), Excel (.xls or .xlsx) or Comma Separated Values (.csv) format.

Will my gift cards from my old POS system work on my new POS system?

Yes, however, you will need to transfer the card balance information from your old point-of-sale (POS) system to your new POS system and, in most, cases have a card printing company like Plastic Resource re-number/re-encode the cards. Contact us to learn more.

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