Magnetic Stripe Reader FAQ

What is a mag stripe reader?

A magnetic stripe reader, also called a mag stripe reader, is a piece of hardware that can read the information encoded in a magnetic stripe on the back of a credit card.

Is a mag swipe reader the same as a payment processor?

No. A mag stripe reader is a piece of hardware that enters credit card information into a piece of software. A payment processor is an organization that receives information about a payment transaction and performs the payment, transferring funds from the payer to the payee.

What will a mag stripe reader help me do?

A mag stripe reader helps you process credit cards quickly, save time and increase accuracy.

What do I need for a mag stripe reader and Sumac work together?

A computer running Sumac.
A merchant account with a payment processor supported by Sumac.
An Internet connection.

What kind of mag stripe reader do I need?

Any USB credit card magnetic stripe scanner which emulates a keyboard, and does not mask or encrypt its output.

Where can I buy a mag swipe reader?

Mag swipes are available through online stores like Amazon. You can also find them on or

When developing this feature, our developers used the IDTech Minimag 2 duo reader, available HERE.

Tip: We don’t recommend the MagTek brand readers: many of their devices need to encrypt data in a way that is specific to a particular payment processor.

How much to they cost?

Prices typically range from $40 to $80 per unit.

Does Sumac support mag stripe readers that work for Interac transactions?

No, a mag stripe reader reads credit cards only.

How do I set up a mag stripe reader to work with Sumac?

Plug the mag stripe reader into your computer. In Sumac, when you enter a credit card payment transaction, you can click a button to tell Sumac to read from the mag stripe reader.