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manual transactions

Although the use of electronic chip-and-pin terminals is now widespread, there may still be times when you need to process transactions manually. After many years of experience helping our customers to keep their payment systems running, we've put together some frequently-asked-questions to guide you through the process of taking manual card transactions.

I have an electronic chip and pin machine. Why do I need an imprinter?

An imprinter provides you with a low-cost back up option, so that you can continue to take card payments if your terminal goes down for any reason.

How can an imprinter reduce chargebacks?

If you ever have to enter a card number manually into a terminal, because the card won’t read, you should also take an imprint and ask the customer to sign the sales slip. If the transaction is disputed later, your imprinted sales slip can prove that the customer’s card was present at the sale, and reduce the risk of a chargeback.

You should always remember to check the card and the signature with great care whenever you manually key a transaction.

How can I keep taking card payments during a power cut?

Use your manual imprinter and ensure that customers sign the sales slips. You can enter the transactions manually into your terminal, or online, when you are able to but make sure you keep the signed slips in case of queries – the signed and imprinted slip is what proves that the card was present.

For transactions above your floor limit, you will also need to get telephone authorisation.

Where can I get more sales slips for my imprinter?

You can order sales slips online from retail gurus by clicking here. Our generic sales slips are accepted by all card processors, and conform to all payment card industry data protection standards.

I usually sell online but I’m setting up a stand at a craft fair next week. I don’t do this often enough to justify renting a terminal, but I would like to accept card payments. What can I do?

If you’re registered as a card-not-present merchant, you could set up a laptop on your stand and key the card details into your online payment processing. A quicker option is for you to use an imprinter to process the payment details, and use the slips to enter the payments online later.

Remember to check the rules with your acquiring bank before using an imprinter to accept payments.

I run a hotel. Can I use an imprinter to take deposits?

Hotels often use an electric imprinter to record a guest’s credit card details on a registration form at check-in. The guest signs the form authorising the hotel to debit his account if he defaults on payment for the room or other services. This enables the hotel to take a deposit without actually taking money from the customer’s account and the imprinted form is shredded when the customer settles their bill.

You can use any type of imprinter for this, but the model 840 electric imprinter is designed with the hotel industry in mind, and gives crisp, clear ink impressions at the touch of a button, to streamline the check-in process.

What information should I have on my imprinter plate?

If you are sending the imprinted slips to your bank to be processed, you will need to have your merchant account details on the plate so that the bank can identify your payments.

If you are processing the slips yourself by entering the sales data into a terminal, or online, then you can choose what to have on your plate. It’s a good idea to have your business name and address or phone number so that your customers can identify the transaction from their copy of the sales slip.

Do I have to get an imprinter from my bank?

Not at all, you can use any imprinter available in the market. Banks tend to supply the most basic zip-zap models (“flatbeds”), but there are all sorts of different imprinters available to meet specific requirements. The most important thing is that the imprinter should produce a clear, legible imprint.

Do you have a question about manual card processing that isn’t answered here? Post a message on the retail gurus forums by clicking here.