What is an Imprinter AKA Credit Card Imprinter?

Here is the illustration of a credit card Imprinter.

Merchant Account Imprinter Explained

A merchant account Imprinter, often referred to as a credit card Imprinter, is a device that allows businesses to physically imprint credit card information from a customer's card onto a paper slip. This technology, though largely replaced by electronic systems, can still be relevant in certain business scenarios, such as where electronic payment systems are unavailable or unreliable.

How to Imprinters Work?

A merchant account Imprinter operates by manually transferring credit card information from a customer's card onto a carbon copy charge slip. The process involves placing the card and a specially formatted paper into the Imprinter. By sliding a handle over the card, the device uses pressure to imprint the embossed card details onto the paper, creating a physical copy of the customer’s credit card information. This method ensures that the merchant has a hard copy of the transaction details, which can be useful for record-keeping or in situations where electronic payment systems fail.

Are There Disadvantages To Using Imprinters?

The use of a merchant account Imprinter presents several limitations when compared to modern electronic payment systems. One major drawback is the slower transaction process, which can hinder the pace of customer service, especially during peak business hours. Physical imprinters do not verify the transaction at the point of sale, increasing the risk of fraud and chargebacks if the card is invalid or stolen. Handling and storing carbon copies also introduces privacy concerns, as these copies contain sensitive cardholder information that must be protected to prevent unauthorized access. The dependence on manual entry increases the potential for human errors, which can complicate transactions and record-keeping.

2 User Reviews

  • Tim Tellander

    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

    • Phillip CPO

      Hi Tim,

      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

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