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

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Last Modified: 2013-12-09
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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