KICTeam, Inc.

How to a Clean Credit Card Reader

Do not use money wrapped our a credit card to clean your card reader payment terminal

Experiencing Credit Card Reader Errors?

Whether you own a convenience store, gas station, restaurant, fast food franchise, grocery store, or other retail establishment, nothing is more frustrating for your customers than trying to check out only to discover that the credit card reader or payment terminal won’t read the magnetic strip or the EMV chip on the card.

There are “helpful tips” published across the internet recommending using a dollar bill wrapped around a credit card and swiping the magnetic strip reader pathway to “clean” it. This MacGyver hack is not helpful. Money is notoriously dirty, and while doing this might dislodge larger particles that might be contributing to card reader errors, using this method also deposits any dirt, grime, or greasy residue on the bill onto the sensitive lenses of the card reader.

Using a credit card wrapped in a dollar bill or other money will not clean your card reader. It will leave more dirt behind and it has the potential to further damage the card reader by scratching the lenses. We, and the OEMs we work with, do not recommend this approach.

How to Properly Clean a Credit Card Reader Terminal

Cleaning the EMV chip reader on credit card payment terminal

1. Clean the EMV Chip Reader

Cleaning the magnetic strip reader pathway on credit card payment terminal

2. Clean the Magnetic Strip Path

Spray the Wipe, not the Device

3. Spray the Wipe, Not the Device

Cleaning outside of card reader with a wipe

4. Clean Outer Components

  1. Clean the EMV Chip Reader – Insert and extract the cleaning card a handful of times then turn the card 180 degrees and repeat. Flip the card over and repeat the initial process. In the photos above, we’re using KIC’s Waffletechnology® for Card Readers with MiracleMagicTM. Our cleaning card with 99.7% IPA is also available.

  2. Use a fresh card to clean the magnetic strip path. Slide card through as you would a credit card a handful of times then turn the card 180 degrees and repeat. Flip the card over and repeat the initial process here.

  3. To clean the outside housing, keypad, and screen, spray the wipe with your cleaning solution first. Two to three sprays is sufficient. The cloth should not be soaked. Never spray liquid onto the device directly, as the liquid can drip into internal components, potentially damaging the device. Electronics don’t take kindly to being wet. ClearDisplayTM, shown in the images above, is a non-flammable, non-hazardous, gentle cleaning solution formulated specifically for electronic technology.

  4. Apply the sprayed cloth, a lint-free wipe is shown here, to remove dirt, dust, fingerprints, oils, and other greasy residue from external components.