How do card machine receipt printers work?

Published: 05/ 11/ 2019

While you don’t have to provide customers with a receipt, and some might not even want one, many consumers still like to take one away - especially for a card transaction. 

So, to keep your customer’s happy you’ll want a card machine that enables receipt printing (spoiler, all ours do), but how does it work?

Thermal printing

The answer’s pretty straightforward really, card machines print receipts thermally.

Thermal printing doesn’t require ink, but instead, it uses chemically treated paper that blackens when it passes under the thermal printhead. So the printhead heats up, the paper passes through, and the writing is transferred onto it. 

Which card machines allow receipt printing?

You can print a receipt with any hand-held card machine; countertop, mobile or portable. So, so long as you’ve opted for a machine with printing capability, there’s nothing stopping you handing out a receipt on the go. 

However, some card machine providers don’t offer in-built receipt printing and in those cases, additional kit will be needed to give customers a hard copy - so just remember to look out for it while doing your research. 

Pssst. Here at takepayments we make things easy and all our card machines come ready to print receipts. 

Do I have to print a receipt?

No, printing a receipt is always optional and even if your customer asks for one, it doesn’t mean you have to print one for yourself too.

Here’s how it will work:

  • You enter the transaction amount
  • The customer inserts or taps their card on your machine
  • You’ll be asked if a customer receipt is required
  • You opt for a merchant receipt if you want one too.

So, whatever the reason you don’t want a receipt - whether you’re looking for ways to be more green and want to reduce your paper consumption or your card machine’s linked to your EPOS system which stores all your data online, just remember it’s not mandatory.

When can’t I print a receipt?

The only time you won’t be able to print a receipt is with online and virtual payments and that’s because you won’t be face-to-face with your customer, but it doesn’t mean you can’t provide a digital one that they can print themselves if they want to.

Printing receipts - top tips

There are a few things you can do to ensure things run smoothly and efficiently when printing receipts:

1. Always have spare paper to refill

Yes, it’s great if you’ve got the capability to offer a paper receipt, but it’s not much use if you run out of till roll and have to say no and leave your customer disgruntled. 

2. Store receipts safely

If you do opt to print duplicate receipts for your own records, make sure you’ve got a system in place for storing them safely. Without one, your customer’s details could be on the line.

3. Ask before printing

Do your bit for the environment by always asking your customer if they require a receipt. For every transaction that doesn’t need one, you’ll be saving paper which will benefit both the environment and your back pocket.

If you’re looking for a card machine that lets you print receipts on-premise or on the go, get in touch with our team today on 0808 274 2017 to learn more about our portable, mobile and countertop options. 

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