How To Swipe A Credit Card Correctly

Read this article to the end to seamlessly learn how to swipe a credit card correctly in 2 methods. This promises to be very educational because if you follow the steps therein, you will not only be proud to swipe your credit card but would also be able to teach others. 

As the world evolves, especially in the aspect of technology, new ways of doing things are being developed. And one sector that has experienced tremendous evolution and modification is the finance or banking sector. And one noticeable area is the use of credit cards and swipe machines. 

As you may have known, a credit card is a card issued by a Credit Union or other financial institution that is used for making purchases. The money debited when you use your credit card is borrowed from the issuing organization and it is added to your credit balance which you are expected to pay in due time. 

The credit card is used in different ways in stores with different types of card readers such as the Chip Card Reader, Contactless Card Reader, and Magstripe Card Readers. The latter demands that the card is swiped across the machine hence it is our focus in this article. Let’s see what it means to swipe a credit card. Before moving on to learn how to swipe a credit card. 

What Does it Mean To Swipe A Credit Card?


Whenever you come across the phrase “swipe a credit card“, it simply means the way to use your credit card on a type of card reader called the Magstripe Card Reader. That is to say, this kind of machine does not require you to insert your credit card nor is it Contactless. 

To use your credit card on the machine, you will have its magnetic stripe touch a part of the machine by loving it in a vertical or horizontal direction. 

Therefore, to swipe a credit card means to move your credit card in a straightforward way making sure that its stripe touches the sensor of the card reader. Don’t worry, you will understand it better as we proceed to how to swipe a credit card. 

How Does Swiping A Credit Card Work?


It simply demands that you get a credit card and a magnetic stripe card reader. Then pass your card over the machine making sure that the magnetic stripe of your card touches the card reader. This is to ensure that the card reader gets the details of the card. And this will enable it to debit the amount of money that you’ve spent on a particular purchase. 

How To Swipe A Credit Card Correctly


Although it is gradually fading away, it is also important to know how to swipe a card correctly. This is because a few stores still have card readers that make use of the swiping system. So if you find yourself in a place or situation where the card reader refuses the chip or contactless system, see how you can use the swipe method below. 

Step 1: Turn On The Card Reader

The first thing to do when you want to swipe your credit card is to make sure that the card reader is on. If it was previously switched off, kindly turn it on. There are different ways to switch a card reader on. However, there should be a button on the machine for that (power button).

Step 2: Insert Your card

After making sure that the card reader is on, now get your credit card and put it into the machine. Insert your card into the terminal of the swipe machine gently. Make sure that the magnetic stripe of your card faces the thicker side of the machine. 

In other words, the stripe at the back of your debit card should be facing the left-hand side when inserting it into the swipe machine or card reader. 

Step 3: Swipe Your Card

After you have inserted the card, it is time to swipe the card. At this moment, you have to pay close attention so as not to do it the wrong way. Now run the already inserted card through the swipe terminal at a constant speed. In other words, do not start faster and slow down at a point while the card is still in the terminal. If you start slowly, maintain that speed till you swipe it through. 

Step 4: Wait For A While

After swiping, do not be in a hurry to leave. Wait a little to see if the machine has read the details of the card correctly or you will be asked to swipe again. If it doesn’t, then proceed to the next stage. 

Step 5: Enter Your Zip Code

Now, the machine would request a zip code. Ensure that you enter your billing correctly to avoid starting the process over again. 

Method 2: Another Way To Swipe A Credit Card. 


In some occasions and places, especially at gas stations, there is another slightly different way to swipe your credit card. This method demands utmost attention as any form of distraction would mean repeating it over. So here is how it is done. 

  • Make sure the card reader is on.
  • Insert your credit card into the machine with the magnetic stripe of the card facing the direction indicated on the machine. Take note that in the first method, the card is to face the left. But in this case, the machine will give an indicator showing the direction to face. Make sure you follow the directions. 
  • You will be prompted to remove the card. Do that quickly as well.
  • Now swipe the card against the magnetic stripe reader. 
  • Enter your billing ZIP Code. 


Is It Better To Chip Or Swipe A Credit Card?


Using a chip credit or debit card has become more prominent than swiping. Chip Cards are more secure than their counterparts that use magnetic stripes. It is more difficult to copy the information of a chip card than a swipe card. 

How Can I Swipe A Debit Card?


Swiping a debit card follows the same method as a credit card explained above. All steps are the same except that you will enter your debit card PIN instead of a zip code as it was with credit cards above. 

How To Swipe A Gift Card


If you have a gift card that has a swiping ability, swiping it follows the same steps as credit and debit cards. However, some store owners might swipe it themselves or simply type the information instead of swiping it. 



Swiping a credit card is a necessity as you would come across it someday. This article gave you a step-by-step guide on how to swipe a credit card in two ways. With this, you will no longer find it difficult when next you visit the gas station.