What is an Imprinter? A credit card imprinter, sometimes affectionately called a “knuckle buster” because of its difficulty to physically manipulate, is a device that makes a carbon copy imprint of a customer’s credit card. An impression of the card is made by placing it in the imprinter along with a specially designed carbon copy receipt and sliding a handle over the top of the two.
Imprinters are used when the physical card can be accepted from the customer but not processed on location. The carbon copy of the card along with the customer’s signature serves as proof of the customer’s authorization of the transaction in the event of a dispute. The use of imprinters is declining due to advances in smart phone credit card processing; however, many delivery businesses continue to use them.
Imprinter Video Demonstration
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About The Author
Phillip Parker is an independent digital payment consultant specializing U.S. and Canadian point-of-sale, ecommerce, and mobile payment acceptance. He has nearly two decades of experience in card payment services, both as a former merchant services sales representative and as a professional journalist covering the payments industry. Phillip created this website and has written over 1,000 articles regarding all things payments. He has also researched and published reviews about nearly every payment services provider and processor. In addition his contributions here, Phillip has also been quoted in several major publications such as The Los Angeles Times, INC Magazine, Miami Herald, Computer World, and numerous others.
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In The Media
In the podcast below, Phillip explains how credit card processing and credit card fraud affects business owners. If you would like to interview Phillip for your story or podcast, please reach out here.
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I belong to a blacksmithing group and we sell our wares at fairs, demonstrations, festivals, etc. We are encountering more and more people without cash money and they want to pay with a credit card.
Is there any uncomplicated way of swiping (or imprinting) their card and then get our money from the bank that issued the card?
I’m sure your office is more than amused with the simplicity of my inquiry, but I would appreciate a response.
—you guessed it – I don’t have any kind of smart phone
Unless you are doing over $1000 per month in credit sales, it won’t be cost effective for you to accept cards through a traditional provider. Your cheapest option would be to buy a smartphone and then use a mobile credit card processing app and card reader service. You can find our top picks for credit card processing apps in our Android list and iPhone list