Since the birth of the credit cards in the 1960's, the cards have on it the card number, expiration date and cardholder name in embossed (raised letters) on the surface of the card. The imprinter was developed to be used to imprint credit card information on the charge slips from those raised characters. For many years, these slips were then deposited into the merchant's bank account like checks for every transaction. Today, the credit cards equipped with a magnetic stripe. The card is swiped through electronic devices that read and transmit the card information to processing centers for verification and sale authorization.
Processing credit cards electronically is now standardized. Last year Visa Cards announced that they were going to phase out the embossed card and exchange it with a flat card with the information printed on it and the only is accessible through the magnetic stripe on the back. Other card companies such as MasterCard will follow suit shortly.
There are still a few merchants that still use imprints for credit card purchase. This is mostly done to verify that the physical card has been presented to the merchant during the transaction, in order to prevent fraudulent chargeback¿s.
With the Visa Electron flat card no imprint can be taken. The new standard is to swipe the card through a terminal whether it is a terminal is a store, cash register/ point of sale system, or wireless terminals for payment.
If business takes orders by telephone, mail or manually keying credit card numbers, transactions are processed as on-qualified transactions at a rate more than double your basic rate, due to risk of fraud by the card not being physically present.
Card imprints are not safeguard against fraud, because any criminal can create phony credit cards. Using an Addressograph machine, the thief embosses the stolen credit card numbers onto there phony credit card. However, encoding a magnetic stripe on the back is almost near impossible to counterfeit. The magnetic stripe not only contains the card number but other coding information which, when swiped through a terminal, verifies to the bank that the actual card is present.
Terminals which include a printer so card holders can get a signed receipt after the transaction is put through and authorized, and then prints a second receipt copy for the customer. Just as if the customer had been physically in your store.
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