Technical Notes : ISO 7810, 7811 & 7813

ISO Magnetic Stripe Card Standards

The majority of magnetic cards used in the UK, Europe and USA confirm to the following ISO standards for magnetic cards.

ISO Number
Description of Standard

7810

Physical Characterisitics of Credit Card Size Document
7811-1
Embossing
7811-2
Magnetic Stripe - Low Coercivity
7811-3
Location of Embossed Characters
7811-4
Location of Tracks 1 and 2
7811-5
Location of Track 3
7811-6
Magnetic Stripe - High Coercivity
7813
Financial Transaction Cards

Full copies of these standards can be pruchased from www.iso.org and www.ansi.org. The information below is abstracted from these standards.

Physical Dimensions of Cards:

Physical Plastic Card
2.175",
55.245mm
3.375", 85.725mm
0.030", 0.762mm thick
 

Characteristics of Tracks:

Position
Track Number
Recording Density
(bits per inch)

Character Configuration
(including parity bit)

Information Content
(including control characters)
 0.223" (5.664mm) from card edge

 0.110" (2.794mm)
Track 1
210BPI
7 bits per character
79 Alphanumeric characters

 0.110" (2.794mm)
Track 2
75BPI
5 bits per character
40 Numeric characters

 0.110" (2.794mm)
Track 3
210BPI
5 bits per character
107 Numeric characters

Track One:

 
<
76 alphanumeric characters
>
 
SS
FC
data
FS
data
FS
data
ES
LRC

    Description
Value
SS
  Start Sentinel
05h
FC
  Format Code
FS
  Field Seperator
3Eh
ES
  End Sentinel
1Fh
LRC
  Longitudinal Redunancy Check Character

Track Two:

 
<
37 numeric characters
>
 
SS
 
data
FS
data
ES
LRC

    Description
Value
SS
  Start Sentinel
0Bh
FS
  Field Seperator
0Dh
ES
  End Sentinel
0Fh
LRC
  Longitudinal Redunancy Check Character

Track Three: (ISO 4909)

 
<
104 numeric characters
>
 
SS
FC
data
FS
data
ES
LRC

    Description
Value
SS
  Start Sentinel
0Bh
FC
  Format Code
2 digits
FS
  Field Seperator
0Dh
ES
  End Sentinel
0Fh
LRC
  Longitudinal Redunancy Check Character

Character Sets

Data stored on magnetic stripes does not use the standard ASCII character set as used on PCs. Below are the two ANSI/ISO character sets used on magnetic stripes.

ANSI/ISO ALPHA Data Format
(Track 1)

The ANSI/ISO ALPHA format is 7 bit, 6 data bits + 1 parity bit (odd). The data is read least significant bit first.
The character set contains 64 characters, 43 alphanumeric, 3 framing/field characters and 18 control/special characters.

Data bits
 
Character
Value
Function
b1
b2
b3
b4
b5
b6
b7
 
(Hex)
 
0
0
0
0
0
0
1
space
00
Special
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
!
01
Special
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
"
02
Special
1
1
0
0
0
0
1
#
03
Special
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
$
04
Special
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
%
05
Start Sentinel
0
1
1
0
0
0
1
&
06
Special
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
'
07
Special
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
(
08
Special
1
0
0
1
0
0
1
)
09
Special
0
1
0
1
0
0
1
*
0A
Special
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
+
0B
Special
0
0
1
1
0
0
1
,
0C
Special
1
0
1
1
0
0
0
-
0D
Special
0
1
1
1
0
0
0
.
0E
Special
1
0
0
1
0
0
1
/
0F
Special
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
10
Data
1
0
0
0
1
0
1
1
11
Data
0
1
0
0
1
0
1
2
12
Data
1
1
0
0
1
0
0
3
13
Data
0
0
1
0
1
0
1
4
14
Data
1
0
1
0
1
0
0
5
15
Data
0
1
1
0
1
0
0
6
16
Data
1
1
1
0
1
0
1
7
17
Data
0
0
0
1
1
0
1
8
18
Data
1
0
0
1
1
0
0
9
19
Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
0
1
0
1
1
0
0
:
1A
Special
1
1
0
1
1
0
1
;
1B
Special
0
0
1
1
1
0
0
<
1C
Special
1
0
1
1
1
0
1
=
1D
Special
0
1
1
1
1
0
1
>
1E
Special
1
1
1
1
1
0
0
?
1F
End sentinel
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
@
20
Special
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
1
0
0
0
0
1
1
A
21
Data
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
B
22
Data
1
1
0
0
0
1
0
C
23
Data
0
0
1
0
0
1
1
D
24
Data
1
0
1
0
0
1
0
E
25
Data
0
1
1
0
0
1
0
F
26
Data
1
1
1
0
0
1
1
G
27
Data
0
0
0
1
0
1
1
H
28
Data
1
0
0
1
0
1
0
I
29
Data
0
1
0
1
0
1
0
J
2A
Data
1
1
0
1
0
1
1
K
2B
Data
0
0
1
1
0
1
0
L
2C
Data
1
0
1
1
0
1
1
M
2D
Data
0
1
1
1
0
1
1
N
2E
Data
1
1
1
1
0
1
0
O
2F
Data
0
0
0
0
1
1
1
P
30
Data
1
0
0
0
1
1
0
Q
31
Data
0
1
0
0
1
1
0
R
32
Data
1
1
0
0
1
1
1
S
33
Data
0
0
1
0
1
1
0
T
34
Data
1
0
1
0
1
1
1
U
35
Data
0
1
1
0
1
1
1
V
36
Data
1
1
1
0
1
1
0
W
37
Data
0
0
0
1
1
1
0
X
38
Data
1
0
0
1
1
1
1
Y
39
Data
0
1
0
1
1
1
1
Z
3A
Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
1
1
0
1
1
1
0
[
3B
Special
0
0
1
1
1
1
1
\
3C
Special
1
0
1
1
1
1
0
]
3D
Special
0
1
1
1
1
1
0
^
3E
Field Separator
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
_
3F
Special

ANSI/ISO BCD Data Format
(Tracks 2 and 3)

The ANSI/ISO BCD format is 5 bit, 4 data bits + 1 parity bit (odd). The data is read least significant bit first.
The character set contains 16 characters, 10 alphanumeric, 3 framing/field characters and 3 control/special characters.

Data bits
 
Character
Value
Function
b1
b2
b3
b4
b5
 
(Hex)
 
0
0
0
0
1
0
00
Data
1
0
0
0
0
1
01
Data
0
1
0
0
0
2
02
Data
1
1
0
0
1
3
03
Data
0
0
1
0
0
4
04
Data
1
0
1
0
1
5
05
Data
0
1
1
0
1
6
06
Data
1
1
1
0
0
7
07
Data
0
0
0
1
0
8
08
Data
1
0
0
1
1
9
09
Data
0
1
0
1
1
:
0A
Control
1
1
0
1
0
;
0B
Start Sentinel
0
0
1
1
1
<
0C
Control
1
0
1
1
0
=
0D
Field Separator
0
1
1
1
0
>
0E
Control
1
1
1
1
1
?
0F
End Sentinel

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