| The three magnetic tracks, defined for financial industry applications, have been assigned names and numbers as listed below:
1: Developed by the International Air Transportation
Association (IATA), track 1 contains alphanumeric format
of 79 alphanumeric characters, at 7 bits per character with
information for applications such as automation of airline
ticketing or other transactions where a reservation database
Track 2: Developed
by the American Bankers Association (ABA), track 2 contains
numeric information encoding of 107 numeric characters at 5
bits per character for the automation of financial transactions.
This track of information is also used by most systems that
require an identification number and a minimum of other control
Track 3: Developed by the Thrift Industry, track 3 contains information, some of which is intended to be updated (re-recorded) with each transaction (e.g., cash dispensers that operate “off-line”).magnetic
stripe is encoded with bit patterns, which correspond to
alphanumeric (Track 1) or numeric (Tracks 2 & 3) ASCII characters. The number of bits on a given track is limited to a certain number of bits per inch, or BPI. There are also a series of all zero bits encoded at the beginning and end of a magnetic stripe; these “clocking bits”establish
timing for the reader, or the time the reader will detect
flux reversals as it moves down the magnetic stripe.
For each character in
the bottom right section of the Track 1 Coded Character Set
table, there is a bit pattern which consists of six bits.
To determine this bit pattern for each character, read to
left of the character in its corresponding row, from bit
1 to bit 4. To determine bits 5 and 6, read above the character
in its corresponding row. For example, the bit pattern for “D”(Column
2, Row 4) would be “0 0 1 0 0 1”plus odd parity
bit = 1.
For the Tracks 2 & 3 Coded Character Set table
(page 7), read to the left of each numerical character. For
example, the bit pattern for “6”(row 6) would be
0 1 1 0 with odd parity (P).