Credit card machines are designed to extract and decipher your account information contained in the magnetic stripe on your card. The mag stripe reader can become too dirty to accurately read the information, resulting in lost time from having to key the information in by hand. Plus, each card that must be keyed into the system costs the business more to process. To keep sales up and costs down, it is imperative to keep the mag strip reader on a credit card machine clean. Here’s how.

Things You Will Need
  • Chamois cloth or dollar bill

  • Credit card

  • Isopropyl alcohol

How to Clean a Credit Card Reader

Obtain a cloth free of lint and oil. Making sure that you are using the right cleaning medium is a must for getting the best results. The best cleaning medium to use is a chamois cloth or dollar bill or a premade cleaning card.

Wrap the cleaning cloth around a credit card. Remove a credit or debit card from your wallet, wrap the chamois cloth or dollar bill around the card so that it completely covers the front and rear surface of the card with a single layer of cloth.

Swipe the card back and forth gently through the reader. Simply slide the card back and forth through the mag reader slot several times as though you were processing a credit sale. Do not push more vigorously or too quickly, or you might damage the reader.

Attempt to run a sale transaction. See if the reader will now recognize the information on the back of your card. If not, repeat the process, except add a very small amount of isopropyl alcohol to the cloth. The reader may be dirtier than you think.

Get a replacement. If this technique fails, odds are you have a defective unit that must be replaced. Contact your merchant account provider for a new unit.