History of Credit Card Machines

While credit card machines have not necessarily been around for too long, they do have some history and have changed in many ways over the years. Learn more about the history of these convenient machines below.

Manual Imprinters

The first form of credit card machines is called a manual imprinter. Manual imprinters were used to make an imprint of the customer’s credit card, followed by the business mailing the credit card imprint into the customer’s bank for payment. As you can imagine, this process was extremely time consuming and meant businesses did not receive payment as quickly as they would like. However, the use of these machines was successful at the time, as consumers were happy to use their newly minted credit cards. Manual Imprinters are still used today as a backup system in most businesses.

Electronic Authorizations

The next form of credit card machines, or credit card acceptance methods, was the use of electronic authorizations. Electronic authorizations came along while the use of manual imprinters was still popular. Electronic authorizations allowed the business owner to call over the phone to authorize the transaction with the customers’ bank instead of imprinting the transaction. However, this method could typically take up to five minutes and was often only used for higher value purchases to make sure the credit card is authorized before allowing the customer to leave the store with the high value merchandise.

POS Systems

Today, we are familiar with the use of the best POS systems to process credit card transactions. POS systems can be mobile, tablet based, or a terminal with the business that resembles a computer or a cash register. POS systems created a way for business to process credit cards quickly and easily rather than the archaic methods of the manual imprinter or electronic authorizations. Many merchant accounts now utilize POS systems in a variety of ways that are beneficial to their business while also being convenient for the customers.