USB Credit Card Swipes

Theatre Manager supports using USB credit card swipes - which effectively are a replacement for keyboard input. The user swipes a credit card into the USB reader which translates it into keyboard input - exactly as if you typed the data.

Installation is easy - just plug it into your computer.

It works by reading the card information, including the track II information into Theatre Manager. Theatre Manager encrypts the credit card. It forwards the track II information to the credit card company and then promptly forgets about it - Track II data is never retained in Theatre Manager per PCI DSS requirements. A number of credit card companies use Track II information as proof that the cardholder is present and may adjust discount rates. Note also that they adjust rates for full address verification, CVV2 verification and other factors - making it equivalent to Track II authorization.

All Service Providers operate as card not present. That means Track II information is never send to them, even if the credit card is swiped using a USB reader. The card #, plus address and CVV2 are more important and will provide competitive discount rates.

In this case, a USB swipe becomes only an efficiency tool for data entry rather than a need for proving card present.

Moneris has an additional option: sending card information using and external pin pad, if you wish to have those as part of your account. It allows Schedule B-IP compliance and is considered Card Present, allowing tab, chip and pin, swipe, apple-pay, etc.

Any computer that has a USB credit card reader OR a keyboard attached to should have limited ability to connect to the internet with direct access for browsing and/or strong virus protection

This protection is to detect any 'bad actors' in viruses which are keystroke loggers. If your machine is infected, it will send every keystroke to the 'bad guys' and this is one easy way for them to compromise credit card information, one card at a time when they are entered.

Programming a Credit Card Swipe

The following instructions are used to program a USB or serial ID Tech Minimag credit card swipe purchased from Arts Management Systems to work with Theatre Manager version 7 or later. If you did not purchase the swipe from Arts Management, you may need to ask your vendor how you can re-program the swipe to work with Theatre Manager.


You may NOT have to program your swipe if:

  1. it only has track II programed for it, you do not need to change it (these are generally swpes that are older than 2 or 3 years). You will know this if TM never shows you the swiped name in the card name field when you swipe it.
  2. you try it and there is no issues
  3. it is made by a vendor other than IDTech
  4. it is made by IDtech and the model number is IDT3331-02U


Historically, the credit card swipes from Arts Management would work out of the box. On the PC, we have found that there are timing issues with the delimiters between tracks and how Theatre Manager accepts them. So, the object of reprogramming the swipes is simply to change the delimiter between the tracks from a 'CR'.


To program a credit card swipe, you will need:

Steps for IDtech models

  • IDMB3331-02UB
  • IDMB-334112B

  1. Download the installation software to a PC
  2. When you get it on your desktop, you will need to run the executable program and it will create a folder on your desktop.
  3. Look in that folder and run the 'Setup.exe' program that you see in the picture to the right.
  4. After you have installed the program, go to:
    1. Start Menu
    2. Program Files
    3. Mag Swipe Configuration Utility folder
    4. pick the Mag Swipe Configuration Utility application as per the side picture.



Before starting, plug in the Credit Card reader into the computer.


When you start the application, you will see some choices down the left side. The first step is to click the 'Select Reader Interface'



The screen will change. Pick the interface for the swipe you have by clicking the little 'blue' dot until it turns into a checkmark.


For most, this will the the USB interface


For some, it will be the serial interface.


Then click 'Continue'



After clicking done, click the 'Change Basic Reader Settings' Swipe Setup


The window will change an there are a number of tabs across the top in this option. Do not change anything else unless advised by Arts Management Systems.



Click on the 'Track Settings' tab at the top and the screen should look similar to the left.


Click on the 'Track Separator' field.


Type a '~' into that field. On most keyboards, this will be on the upper left area and you likely will have to hold the shift key to get it.


When the screen looks like that on the right, click 'Send to MSR'. The credit card swipe should beep.


When that is done, click 'close' on this screen.


Click Exit.



If you have more than one swipe, unplug the first one from this machine and then plug the second one in.


Repeat the steps above until all are programmed.


Test the swipes with theatre manager on the patron payment window.