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Definition: card reader

(1) See memory card reader.

(2) A card reader is a terminal that reads the magnetic stripe or chip on a credit card. It may also write onto the chip depending on the application. Card readers are part of all point of sale (POS) terminals that accept credit and debit cards. See magnetic stripe, chip reader, EMV and skimming.

(3) An early device that read up to 2,000 punch cards per minute. The character codes were detected by metal brushes making electrical contact through the punched holes or by sensing light shining through the holes. Such readers were the common input device in accounting machines, collators, sorters and other tabulating equipment. See tabulating equipment, tabulator and Hollerith machine.