Magstripe readers (also called magnetic stripe readers or MSR) capture the information encoded in the electromagnetic strips on the back of credit, debit, and gift cards. A magstripe card can have either 2 or 3 tracks of information. Standard credit cards use Tracks 1 and 2. ID cards and other types of cards use Track 3. Credit card processing software is required to verify the banking information for credit and debit cards. The most common interface types are USB and PS/2. Serial interface is also available, but it may require special software to interpret the data. Standard magstripe readers are made of plastic and are ideal for occasional use and small retail operations. Metal magstripe readers have a longer slot for increased reading accuracy. They are designed for high-volume applications, outdoor use, or unsupervised use.
Check readers increase the efficiency of check transactions and prevent check fraud by verifying account information at the time of transaction. They use MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition) technology to read the characters printed at the bottom of the check. The check reader must be compliant with the POS software, which should be confirmed by the software manufacturer. Check readers are available with a USB, Ethernet, Serial, or RS485 interface.