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What magnetic stripe reader should I purchase to read credit cards?

My group is hosting an event and we've been accepting payments online using a form that calculates a total and then passes the total to a separate web payment site within our organization that processes credit cards securely.  That site has been malfunctioning, so we'll have to process payment at check in.

It isn't an option to get an actual credit card machine.  I found this website:

http://www.tech-faq.com/mag-stripe-cards.shtml

So I want to purchase a magnetic card reader that can read Track 1.  Then, we'll simply scan the cards to capture the information and then run that through our web payment system when it is back online.

The problem is that any company I call to ask about readers absolutely insists that I also purchase their point of sale system to interpret the data off the card, otherwise it won't work.  

That can't be true.  I'm sure there is a card reader out there that can be a keyboard emulator and simply just put the text into a spreadsheet!

So, experts - any recommendations?

Thanks!
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blurb87
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blurb87
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blurb87Author Commented:
Do you have experience with either reader to support your recommendation?
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ParanormasticCryptographic EngineerCommented:
Not this particular product line but I have worked in environments that used other types of products from this company and were happy with their quality.  I've also seen this brand all over the place on POS registers as credit card readers - beyond that I can't say directly.  Both links should fit the bill - I should have probably given this link instead for the full product line that you could examine:
http://www.magtek.com/products/card_readers/swipe_mag.asp

The product information does mention keyboard emulation and such and sounded like a good fit for what you described for your needs and I recognized the company name.

If you are interested in comparison shopping - again no direct experience with these products, but I do with the companies:
http://www.filebuzz.com/fileinfo/23984/SCR_Keyboard_Emulator.html
SCR is a decent company in general - an old job we used their smartcard readers with mixed results - problems were all driver+firmware related in specific models.  Once the right drivers were in place it was our defacto reader in the test lab.  Their documentation left a lot to be desired as whoever wrote it did not speak English natively.

Did a few searches for anything else and everything is coming up with one of these two products anywhere near the top of the results.   There was another company unitech that looks like a reseller of magtek.
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blurb87Author Commented:
Thanks - that was helpful!
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