Credit card terminals have not had a long existence. Many of the terminals used today utilize technology that is a mere 20 years old. This modern convenience, while not having a long history, has a rich history behind it. There are several types of credit card terminals that have found their way into the merchant market.

Manual imprinters were the first type of terminals used for credit card transactions. These terminals took an imprint of the credit card used for the purchase. The merchant would then mail the imprints to their bank for processing. Processing of the imprints took time – not like the instant transfers of today. However, manual imprinters are still used today because of their reliability. If your modern credit card terminal is out of service, you can imprint a card in a flash.

Electronic authorizations were first utilized for large transactions. This is because the first electronic authorizations had to be completed over the phone. This could be a lengthy process, often taking longer than five minutes to complete. At the time that electronic authorizations began to be used, merchants had only two choices: an over-the-phone authorization that was time consuming or a manual imprint.

In 1979, Visa introduced the first point of sale terminal. This was a notable time in the history of credit card terminals because this is the same type of technology used today. The year 1979 also saw the addition of magnetic strips to credit cards to allow them to be “swiped” through the point of sale terminals. These terminals made the processing time much faster.

From 1979 to today, credit card terminals have only improved. Security and reliability are the two biggest concerns when it comes to electronic transfers of funds, so we can expect even better options in the future. Mobile options, including smart phone technology and running your business through tablets will also allow you to take your business anywhere, any time.

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