The Universal Magnetic Swipe Reader can read any combination of up to three tracks of magnetic information with a single swipe in either direction. An audible tone and a visual LED signal indicate a successful read. The Universal Magnetic Swipe Reader accepts both high and low coercivity magnetic cards, and can read all ISO 7811, AAMVA and California Driver's license, and custom data formats. Programmability options allow the user to select different languages and output data format, including divide, rearrange, edit, and validate fields of magnetic card data. The unique optional dual head configuration can read a magnetic stripe without requiring the user to orient the stripe in a specific direction.