CARD SWIPER - Setup and Configuration

Latest Update: 2/23/2011

Magnetic Stripe Readers (MSR), as they are officially known, can be used to scan both Driver's Licenses and Credit Cards into various input areas in the platform.

  • With a Driver's License scan you can quickly check-in a patient and automatically find their patient record, allowing you to provide quick and efficient service as they enter your dispensary.
  • With a Credit Card scan, you can efficiently check out a patient, by enabling an electronic payment for their medicine purchase, as well as other goods they decide to purchase at your dispensary.

With a plethora of card swipers available, which ones work with the platform?

Basic Requirements

When choosing a card swiper to purchase (if you decide to purchase a card swiper elsewhere instead of directly from MJ Freeway) there are some basic requirements that you should look out for:

  • Support for Data Tracks 1, 2 & 3
    • Most MSRs support all three tracks, but some still only support two tracks. For Driver's License scans to be effective, you need all three tracks in order to capture all available information.
  • USB / Keyboard Interface
    • In order to interface with the platform, peripherals just need to speak a simple language: keyboard. By "emulating" a keyboard, the card swiper sends the information it reads from the card as keystrokes to the computer. That's why a great way to test your swiper is by using the simple Windows application 'Notepad'.
    • ** BE CAREFUL ** Do not get this confused with the USB /HID Interface, as USB/HID is not supported by

Recommended Hardware

Based on our internal testing and validation of available card swipers, here is a brief list of recommended hardware, if you decide to purchase elsewhere (not from MJ Freeway):

 Installation and Setup

Of all of the hardware peripherals available to work with the platform, the card swiper is the simplest to install, requiring little to no configuration.

Nonetheless, this step-by-step guide will cover some quick areas to double check in your Windows or Mac Operating System, to ensure that your card swiper will function as expected, and that the card swiper provides consistent results with most, if not all, swipes.

Step 1 - Unpack & Plug In

With a card swiper that has been purchased either from MJ Freeway, or at the very least meets the requirements detailed in the HWCS01 - Card Swipers - Requirements and Overview article, the installation is simple.

1. Unpack the unit from the box. Take note of the Make and Model number, in case you need support in the future.

2. Plug in the card swiper into an available USB port (preferably one in the back of your PC, if available).

3. Windows should recognize the card swiper as a "USB Keyboard" device, and no drivers are required for the installation to complete.



Mac-logo.jpg On Mac OS X (10.5.x+), when you plug in the MSR, the Keyboard Setup Assistant will pop-up, notifying you that it has found a "new keyboard". At this point, the MSR is fully installed on the Mac, and you can simply "Quit" (command-Q) the Keyboard Assistant (or click on the red "X" in the top left of the window to close it).


At this point, you are now ready to verify your installation.

Step 2 - Verify the Card Swiper

With the card swiper successfully plugged in and recognized by Windows, you can now take the following steps to verify that it works correctly:

1. Go to Start and type notepad in the Windows 7 search bar. Notepad will come up as an available application to run.

2. Once the Notepad window is open, simply take your Driver's License and swipe it through the card swiper (in the correct direction, of course).

3. If the card swiper is working, then the result should be a very long string in Notepad, with '?' (question marks) separating each "track" of information captured from the Driver's License. (There should be 3 question marks, one at the end of each track.)




Mac-logo.jpg On Mac OS X (10.5.x+), go ahead and launch the TextEdit Application, either by opening Finder, going to Applications and clicking on TextEdit, or in Spotlight (top right hand corner) type TextEdit and press .

Follow steps 2 and 3 above, and if the Card Swiper is working, you will have a similar result as this:


4. Repeat steps 2-3 in this list several times, to ensure that you have a consistent amount of successful data captures via your card swiper.


If you swipe the drivers license, and the output in notepad comes out on three lines instead of just one, you need to do some additional configuration.

  • Download and install the ID TECH configuration utility (Windows Only) (Click Here to Download)
  • Run the utility, and select Change Basic Reader Settings:
  • On the next screen, select the Track Settings tab and change the Track Separator entry to read /nul like so, and click Send to MSR. The reader will beep several times and your drivers licenses should all output to a single line:

If the Driver's License scans were successful, go ahead and "clear" Notepad (erase all of the earlier scans) and whip out a credit card. Go ahead, and try swiping your credit card via steps 2-4 to ensure that you have the same consistent capture as with the Driver's License.

With a successful verification of the card swiper via these steps, go ahead to the next, and final, step.

Step 3 - Swipe a Driver's License into

Go ahead an login to your account via Firefox at the URL you were given when you signed up for the service (i.e. Once successfully logged in, follow these steps:

1. At the Patient Management screen, place your mouse cursor in the "Enter or Scan Drivers License #" field.

** PLEASE NOTE ** You must place a cursor in a field, before swiping any card in the card swiper. Why? Because a card swiper that interacts with is sending information just like a keyboard. So, if your cursor is not in a field on where you want to swipe the card information into, your swipe will be unsuccessful.

2. Now slide a Driver's License in the card swiper (again, in the right direction).

3. Within a few seconds, will receive the information and submit it to "search" in the patients database for the identity on the Driver's License.

4. If it finds the patient, will bring you directly to the patient record.

5. If it does not find the specific patient, it will display a list of "close matches", and also give you the option to "create" a patient from the information on this Driver's License.

6. If you choose to create a patient, it will pre-populate of the information from the Driver's License into the patient record, making it faster and easier to add this patient to your MJ Freeway database.

At this point, the card swiper is verified as fully working. However, if you encountered any problems with the card swiper, either while using it to swipe Driver's Licenses or Credit Cards, please refer to HWCS03 - Card Swipers - Common Problems for some good troubleshooting information for the most common problems.

Advanced Configuration

Many MSRs (Magnetic Stripe Readers), also known as card swipers, usually work "out of the box", without any re-configuration. However, as mentioned in the Recommended Hardware section of the HWCS01 - Card Swipers - Requirements & Overview article, some MSRs require minor re-configuration in order to work with MJ Freeway. In addition, if you have a pre-existing MSR that you would like to get working with MJ Freeway, you may need to have its configuration modified.

** WARNING ** The following Advanced Configuration steps should be undertaken by a knowledgeable professional, as any misconfiguration could render your hardware useless. Please contact MJ Freeway Technical Support for further assistance.

Reconfiguring the MSR Interface to 'USB/Keyboard'

As mentioned under the HWCS03 - Card - Common Problems article, one of the common problems is when swiping a Driver's License or Credit Card, and nothing shows up in the MJ Freeway field, or even in Notepad. This issue usually has to do with the "interface type" of the swiper, which is set as a USB/HID device rather than a USB/Keyboard device (necessary for MJ Freeway compatibility).

This has been commonly found to occur with MagTek Swipers, and thankfully, MagTek swipers have a straightforward means of "converting" a swiper from one type to another.

First, you will need to download their USB MSR Demo Utility (Windows Only), which let's you send commands to the MagTek MSR - USB Swipe and Insert Reader Demo Software.

Mac-logo.jpg Please Note: Currently, there are no Mac-based Configuration Utilities available from the manufacturers. If your Card Swiper needs to be re-programmed, you will need a Windows-based workstation or virtual machine (via Parallels or VMware on your Mac) to be able to effectively re-program your MSR, and correct the issues you may be having.
  • After running through the installation, you will find the application under Start | All Programs | MagTek called USBMSR Demo.


  • Now, go ahead and follow this 5 Step Wizard to complete the reconfiguration:
Step 1 - Open the USBMSR Demo Program HWCS04_-_HID_Device_Detected.png
Step 2 - Click Load File, and Select 'Change to Keyboard' Script HWCS04_-_Select_Conversion_Script.png
Step 3 - 'Change to Keyboard' Script Loaded, Now Click on 'Download' HWCS04_-_Loaded_Script.png
Step 4 - Once Finished Downloading, Unplug Card Swiper, and Plug Back In. HWCS04_-_Run_Script.png
Step 5 - Confirm Below that the MSR is now in 'Keyboard Mode' HWCS04_-_Keyboard_Device_Found.png

Once completed, bring up Notepad and swipe either a Driver's License or Credit Card. The results should show up within Notepad, as follows:


The reconfiguration is now completed, and the MagTek swiper can now successfully communicate with MJ Freeway.


Enabling ALL Tracks and Removing Track Delimiters

There is the chance that a card swiper will swipe into Notepad without a problem. However, MJ Freeway will continue to return an error when trying to swipe a Driver's License or Credit Card. The most likely cause of this issue, as documented in the HWCS03 - Card - Common Problems article, is the fact that the tracks are delimited with a "Carriage Return", and swiping each track onto a different line, as follows:

In addition, there is a chance that your card swiper is not capturing all of the available information from the Driver's License because only (2) of the (3) Tracks are enabled. (Naturally, the specs on the MSR that you own should state that it is capable of Track 1, 2 and 3. If not, then it is possible that the MSR can only capture Tracks 1 and 2 due to a physical, technical constraint. Please look at the specs on your swiper before proceeding.)

The MSRs that we have dealt with that usually show one or both of these problems are the ID TECH MSRs. In order to re-program this MSR, ID TECH has provided the following configuration utility:

The ID TECH MSRs have also been used in All-In-One POS configurations, like the Touch Dynamic Breeze AIO and the ELO AIO. Here are the links to the Configuration Utilities for these two all-in-one devices:

Mac-logo.jpg Please Note: Currently, there are no Mac-based Configuration Utilities available from the manufacturers. If your Card Swiper needs to be re-programmed, you will need a Windows-based workstation or virtual machine (via Parallels or VMware on your Mac) to be able to effectively re-program your MSR, and correct the issues you may be having.

Once downloaded, run the 'Setup' utility in the ZIP File, and install the Configuration Utility.

  • After running the installation, you will find the MagSwipe Configuration Utility under Start | All Programs | MagSwipe Configuration Utility, as follows:


  • Now, go ahead and follow this 5 Step Wizard to complete the reconfiguration:
Step 1 - Open the MagSwipe Configuration Utility HWCS04_-_MagSwipe_Open.png

Step 2 - Click on 'Select Reader Interface' to connect to the MSR

Usually this will be USB (standalone MSR) or PS/2 Keyboard (All-In-One Units). Feel free to "try" an interface, if you don't know exactly what it is (in the case of All-In-Ones).

Step 3 - To Ensure Communications with MSR, Click on 'Check Current Reader Settings' HWCS04_-_MagSwipe_Verify_Config.png
Step 4 - Click on Change Basic Reader Settings, and then on 'Track Settings' HWCS04_-_MagSwipe_Track_Settings.png
Step 5 - Select 'Any Track', Set Track Separator to '\nul' and then Send to MSR HWCS04_-_MagSwipe_Config_Tracks.png

Once completed, there will be a pop-up that confirms that the commands were successfully sent to the MSR. Close the MagSwipe Configuration Utility, and bring up Notepad, and test swiping a Driver's License or Credit Card, and check the output.

If all three tracks are on one line, then the configuration update is complete, and the ID TECH MSR can successfully communicate with MJ Freeway.

Other Resources

For more information, you can reference these other MJ Freeway Knowledge Base articles:

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