Quiz: Do you know how a Credit Card's Magnetic Strip Works?

Staff

4 Min Quiz

What is another name for the magnetic strip on the back of a credit card?

The magnetic strip is also referred to as the magstrip.

Advertisement

What type of metal are the magnets in the strip made from?

There are many tiny, iron-based magnets in the strip.

Advertisement

How big is each iron particle in the strip?

Each particle in the strip is only 20 millionths of an inch (50.8 millionths of centimeter) long, and each is a tiny magnet.

Advertisement

In the account number printed on your card, what do the digits in the second through seventh positions represent?

The first digit on the credit card number is the system number, and digits two through seven are you bank number; digits eight through 15 are your account number, and the last digit is a check digit.

Advertisement

Which of the following works in a similar way to the magnetic strip on a credit card?

The credit card strip functions similarly to a cassette tape. Instead of motors turning the tape of a cassette to read it, you swipe the card through a reader.

Advertisement

How many tracks are there on the magstrip?

There are three tracks on the magstrip. Only tracks one and two are used when the card is swiped. The third track is not usually used by banks.

Advertisement

What information does the magstrip contain?

The magstrip includes your name, account number, credit card expiration date, a code for the country you live in and various additional data.

Advertisement

What happens when your credit card is swiped?

When your card is swiped, an acquirer is phoned via a modem to authenticate the card, using information read from the magstrip. An acquirer is an organization that collects payments from a bank's account holder and guarantees payment to the merchant.

Advertisement

What is a common reason an ATM might not accept your card?

If your magstrip is scratched, dirty or erased the ATM will not accept it.

Advertisement

How can a magstrip be erased?

A card's magstrip can be erased by exposure to magnets, as simple as the ones you stick on your refrigerator to the strong ones used department stores to remove security tags from clothing.

Advertisement

Explore More Quizzes

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

The magnetic strip on the back of a credit card contains a wealth of information. It works as a security measure to identify where your credit card is being used and contains sensitive data. See what you know about the magnetic strip on a credit card by taking this quiz.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!