In today’s digital age, card swipers have become a ubiquitous tool for processing payments and transactions. Whether you’re making a purchase at a retail store, dining at a restaurant, or using public transportation, you’ve likely encountered these devices. But have you ever wondered what these card swipers are called? In this blog post, we’ll explore the various terms used to describe these essential devices and their functions.
- Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR)
One of the most common names for card swipers is the Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR). These devices work by reading the information encoded on the magnetic stripe found on the back of credit and debit cards. This stripe contains essential data such as the cardholder’s account number, expiration date, and other relevant information. MSR technology has been in use for decades and remains an integral part of card payment systems.
- Card Reader
The term “card reader” is a broad and generic way to describe these devices. It encompasses various types of card-swiping technologies, including MSR, EMV chip card readers, and contactless card readers. In everyday conversation, people often use “card reader” as a catch-all phrase for any tool that processes card payments.
- Swipe Machine
In some regions, card swipers are colloquially referred to as “swipe machines.” This term is derived from the act of physically swiping a card through the reader to initiate a transaction. Swipe machines are commonly found in small businesses and older point-of-sale systems that still rely on magnetic stripe technology.
- Chip and PIN Machine
As technology advances, the EMV (Europay, MasterCard, and Visa) chip has become the new standard for card payments. Consequently, card swipers have evolved to accommodate this technology. Devices that read chip cards are often called “Chip and PIN machines” because they require the cardholder to insert the card’s chip and enter a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for added security.
- Contactless Payment Terminal
With the rise of contactless payments, card swipers have adapted to accept near-field communication (NFC) technology. Contactless payment terminals allow cardholders to make transactions by simply tapping or waving their cards or smartphones near the reader. While not commonly referred to as card swipers, these devices are part of the broader family of payment terminals.
- Card Terminal
“Card terminal” is another term used to describe the devices used for card payments. This name is more neutral and encompasses all the different card-swiping methods available today, making it a suitable term for discussing payment processing equipment in general.
In conclusion, card swipers can be called by various names depending on their specific functionality or the region in which they are used. Whether it’s a Magnetic Stripe Reader (MSR), a Chip and PIN machine, a contactless payment terminal, or simply a card reader, these devices play a crucial role in facilitating secure and convenient transactions. As payment technology continues to evolve, we can expect new names and terms to emerge, but the core purpose of these devices remains the same – to simplify the way we make payments and conduct transactions in our increasingly digital world.
For additional information, please don’t hesitate to reach our experts at Flat Creek Payments. Even if you’re not processing with us, we’re happy to help you navigate this crazy world of payment processing!