How Do You Determine Card Formats Of Existing Cards?

I am curious how to determine the card format structure of existing customer cards with no prior knowledge of bit length and or format. Is there an article or utility or tool that can help with this or some sort of process to figure this out?

We run into this sometimes on cutovers of existing card access systems and have been fortunate in figuring out the format, usually by picking and testing existing templates from the system we are installing. Some systems require you to build the template yourself and i am not sure how one determines which parameters to configure or how to find those parameters.

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