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A helpful guide on cleaning your card machine

Maintaining a clean and germ-free body and surrounding environment is the best way to ensure a healthy lifestyle and to protect yourself and your loved ones from potential risks of bacteria, viruses, or other threatening infections.

Thanks to the evolution of technology, we spend a great number of hours with our mobile phones.

In a similar way, businesses that have discovered the vast potential of card payments rely on credit card payment machines to receive money.

By regularly cleaning and disinfecting your card payment device you can protect yourself, your employees, and your customers from the spread of potential diseases and keep your credit card machine healthy and functioning for longer.

For example, did you know that 80% of failed transactions are due to dirt on the sensitive contact points inside the card reader?

Worry not, cleaning your device is easy and takes only a few minutes of your day.

Cleaning products to use for your payment device

Depending on the level of cleaning that you are after, the best products to use will differ.

For instance, your main objective in standard times could be simply removing accumulated grease, dust, food, or other dirt from the surface to get a cleaner look and a better working device.

However, in serious pandemic situations requiring increased attention and the prevention of spreading bacteria, the procedure will not be the same. Here are some of the ready to use products you could buy:

  • Disinfectant cleaning spray for electronics: If you decide to go for a disinfectant spray, make sure it is specifically designed for electronics. Check the ingredients and search for the level of alcohol included. Before using the product, read the device manufacturer’s cleaning instructions and check if alcohol is suitable for your payment device. If not, you could seriously damage surfaces and important reading points of your terminal leading to malfunctions.
  • Cleaning card for card readers: Most cleaning cards have been created with isopropyl alcohol and serve a specific purpose. If you have been wondering how to clean a card swiper in-depth, this is the perfect solution for you.
  • Disinfectant wipes for hardware: Similar to disinfectant sprays, disinfectant wipes are a great method for getting any bacteria and germs off your card machines in no time. You could purchase this product ready to use or you could create your own. We’ll show you how below.

DIY card machine cleaning ideas

Depending on the size of your business, your payment device can be touched between hundreds and thousands of times a day. Due to a large number of people with access to its surface, it becomes the ideal place for the spread of germs and bacteria.

If you urgently need to clean and disinfect but are out of specialized products, here are some ideas for staying hygienic on-the-go.

  • Use a damp cloth soaked warm water with soap and washing liquid
  • Mix two parts rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol with one part water in a spray bottle and use to clean device surfaces.
  • Vodka can be used as a disinfectant to kill bacteria but also remove stains and refresh fabric.
  • Essential oils can be added to vodka to enhance its cleansing properties and also add a pleasant smell.

Always remember to check the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning procedures. Find a cleaner that is electronics-friendly, like ammonia-free glass cleaners. If your business operates with a touch screen POS device, make sure your cleaning product is suitable and will cause no harm to the product.

How to clean your credit card machine

There are a few important parts of your device that are worth exploring when disinfecting and cleaning. Let’s look at them in more detail.

Card reader

Using your cleaning card swipe through your card reader as if you were making a payment. Don’t rush and take the time to ensure that the card runs smoothly through the reader. Alternatively, you can wrap a piece of cloth with one of the cleaning products listed above around a credit card. Swipe the card back and forth in a similar motion through the reader.

Touch screen

Take out a disinfectant wipe or piece of cloth and go over the touch screen surface. Remember that touch screen displays can be extremely sensitive and ensure that your product is suitable for this part of your device. Once finished, immediately wipe it with a dry cloth or paper towel to avoid the moisture remaining on the surface, potentially causing damage.

PIN pad

Your PIN pad is one of the areas which is most exposed to dirt and bacteria. Thoroughly clean every button with your cleaning cloth or wet wipe.

Extra protection for your card machine

In times of threat from diseases or dangerous viruses such as COVID-19, it is highly advisable to take extra caution in preventing contamination and spread of bacteria.


You can keep your device safe and clean by using a silicone case. It is easier to clean and replace if necessary.

Apart from regular cleaning and disinfection, you could also explore other methods of receiving money from your clients to ensure a safer environment.

For instance, you could take advantage of the range of contactless payment feature of your card reader.

Sending receipts as a text message rather than printing out and handing to customers is another measure your business could take in such circumstances.

Running a business in times of crisis certainly carries the responsibility of taking the necessary measures to keep yourself, your employees, and your clients safe.

So get your cleaning materials ready and keep your card payment machine in perfect hygiene. 

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