The evolution of credit card machines

Everyone has these days at least one credit card in their wallet, if not more and every store accepts electronic payments from its customers. However, few people stop to think of how these devices evolved from the very basic technology that was available 40 years ago to the portable credit card machine their waiter uses to cash in their check. With new technologies making their way on the market every season, it was only natural for card machines to evolve as well. So here is a brief history of how they evolved:

The manual imprinters

These were the first machines used to accept credit card payments and in some places they are still used as a backup method when the power is off and credit cards cannot be processed through modern techniques. Much like their name, these devices allow their users to imprint a credit card and after that mail the slips to the bank. The major drawback brought by these devices was the fact that transaction took very long to be processed, unlike modern card terminals which process payments almost instantly.


Electronic authorisations

This was the next step in the evolution of modern credit card machines, as these offered merchants the chance to call the bank for an authorisation, which reduced the transaction time to 5 minutes. Naturally it was a major step in the right direction, but still, there were many situations in which this system failed and transactions were delayed. This is why many merchants actually preferred to use the imprinters most of the times and only called for electronic authorisations when they had larger transactions to process.


Electronic data capturing terminals

These were introduced at the end of the 70s and were considered the precursors of modern credit card terminals. While they took a lot of counter space, that was when credit cards were designed to have a magnetic stripe and when processing transactions actually started to be done fast and there were fewer errors to worry about.


Today’s credit card machines

These days there are many types of card machines available on the market and each business owner can get one that is suitable for the type of business that he runs. For instance, restaurants and bard use a portable credit card machine while regular retailers have the countertop card processing equipment. In addition, mobile payment systems are more and more developed, so even couriers are able to receive credit card payments when they drop off a package at various locations.


This is how credit card machines have evolved over the years and why people should appreciate them more. This type of technology has lead to many beneficial economic changes and has helped many businesses to deal with their transactions easier. There are many credit card terminal providers available on the market these days, so business owners can rest assured that they will always be able to find what they need. A quick search online should provide all the information someone would need to find a suitable provider and contact him.