Credit Card Readers - 9 Incredibly Complicated Credit Card Readers (Plus One That’s Awesome)

Have you ever noticed that there is clearly no standard for credit card readers? It seems like every time you swipe your credit card to buy something, you’ve got to re-learn the entire process. As the cashier watches impatiently, you try to figure out the right positioning of the card and which way the plastic strip is supposed to go. And invariably, you get it wrong.

Imagine trying to figure out how to pay with this guy staring at you...

It’s time to publicly display some of these awful card readers, and demand that credit card companies come up with an easy-to-use standard. No one should have to live through technological horrors like these.

#10 The Card-O-Matica

Does a credit card machine really need to look this complicated?

The “Stripe Side” method of describing where to place the magnetic strip has one problem: should the strip be up or down? When faced with this techno-monstrosity, you might just forget.

#9 One Keyboard Too Many

The tiny credit card diagram tells me which way to swipe my card, but I’m distracted by the ENORMOUS KEYBOARD THAT SERVES NO PURPOSE IMAGINABLE. And what about the four useless purple buttons? Were they having a sale at the purple button factory?

#8 Headrest From… Hell

Since the screen is actually flush with the seat, you actually have to ROTATE the screen upward in order to purchase something on this airline flight. No instructions here for frazzled fliers on that key step.

You’ll likely have to figure it out at some point, since otherwise you won’t get to eat during your trip.

#7 Sonically Shady

Maybe you’re supposed to just SLAM YOUR CARD into this one, since there is no diagram explaining how to insert your card. And aren’t you curious what the blue “?” button does? It probably shuts the entire machine down. NO TOTS FOR YOU!

#6 The Farecatcher

I can’t even believe this screen has a cash option. Like you’re going to pull out your cash with the driver giving you that creepy backseat glare.

How do you make the taxi payment experience more complicated than it already is? Make sure the diagram is impossible to tell whether it’s referring to the FRONT or the BACK of the card.

#5 A Reader with a Mouth

Audio Credit Card Reader

This may be the only card reader I’ve seen with a speaker. Great, a machine that talks back. “YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG, FOOLISH HUMAN!”

Showing me the backside of the card doesn’t really explain what I need to do here, although I’m glad the downward arrow is there - I’d be lost without it.

#4 The Card Destroyer 2000

This military-grade space reader suggests that the machine will give me a green “yes” or yellow “no” answer on my purchase of interplanetary rations. Did I mention this will let me survive in a wasteland-type future where the only currency is credit cards?

Regardless, this machine offers the best arrow I’ve seen in the business! Except for, you know, any arrowlike features at all.

#3 Double Trouble

Whizzat?! The custom-made sign suggests that many people have problems with this apparatus, and no wonder: not only do you have to slide your card, you have to navigate two different screens via this incredibly complicated grocery self-checkout machine.

By the way, I count NINE arrows on this device telling me what to do. Credit card companies should be allowed a maximum of one.

#2 The Ol’ Switcheroo

The problem with this one is that unlike MOST card readers, you have to swipe this one the COMPLETE OPPOSITE way. The diagram does show you the back of the card, but so do other machines that require you to swipe your card ON ITS SIDE.

And Finally…

#1 The Key to This Problem

The image below this KeyBank reader suggests that you’re supposed to face the card the same way as shown. Seems pretty logical, doesn’t it? I think we should give KeyBank an award for this helpful credit card diagram, as well as a letter of congratulations:

August 2, 2010

Dear KeyBank:

I’d like to thank you for your pioneering work on advancing the progress of credit card diagrams. It appears that other credit card readers were put together by some slappy who has never used a credit card before.

Regardless, we would like to present an award for your accomplishments. It’s really a thing of beauty to use a card reader from your company, as the process is as smooth as a milkshake on a sunny day. Yes, it really is that smooth, I’m serious.

Here is the award. We’re also going to mail you a hard copy that you can frame, as soon as we get some of that shiny paper that awards go on.

All the Best,

National Society of Frustrated Credit Card Users

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