Magnetic Stripe Readers and Sumac - FAQ

            If your organization processes payments in Sumac, and are considering using a magnetic stripe reader to swipe credit cards to assist in processing payments through Sumac, have a look at these frequently asked questions below for some helpful information:

            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, the Sumac 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 do mag stripe readers 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.

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