The “Knuckle Buster” Is a Dinosaur – Let It Be Extinct

by Jan 9, 2014General Merchant Account

Update 9/20/2020: If you’re still using a credit card imprinter, it’s time you upgrade. Even back in 2014 when this article was first published I was urging you to set the nuckle buster aside for something better.

Nowadays, there are so many credit card processing options available that are easier to use and compliant with today’s PCI security standards. The bottom line is: you should not be using the knuckle buster anymore.


If you’re one of those business owners that prefers to stick with tried and true, but antiquated, devices as opposed to embracing new technologies then there’s a good chance that you’re still processing your card payments with a the manual credit card swipe machine affectionately known as the “knuckle buster”.

Well, as the title of this article implies, nowadays there are far more efficient and secure digital methods for credit card processing.

For decades, the knuckle buster was the most reliable device on the market for securing credit card payments.

It offered protection from identity theft and fraudulent purchases, and so for good reason a lot of companies swore by it (and at it when a mistimed swipe took the skin off a couple of knuckles, earning the nickname).

Times have changed.

And while you might have a hard time giving up on your carbon-paper receipts, it’s time to realize that the manual card swipe is a dinosaur and it’s time to let it be extinct.

Ready to put that old knuckle buster to the test?

It’s not just me who feels that knuckle busters are destined to soon be a relic of the past.

According to the blog, both Visa and MasterCard have begun issuing cards without “embossed” numbers.

As soon as flat numbered cards becomes the norm, the knuckle buster will essentially be rendered obsolete.

So why are Visa and MasterCard trying to force you into the new millennium?

Security. The advent of new techniques in identity theft means that the embossing of fake credit cards has become too easy. Therefore, the big companies are relying more on implanted chips to reduce credit card fraud.

There are some that will still argue that knuckle busters help prevent chargebacks. By making an imprint slip, businesses can provide proof of the transaction which could be used in a case against fraudulent claims.

Reality, however, paints a completely different picture.

The majority of chargebacks are not associated with fraud, but instead are client-initiated.

Some examples are refund requests, claims of goods never arriving, duplicate billing, and so on.

Using a knuckle buster certainly isn’t going to reduce incidents like these.

An even bigger stretch is when you hear the argument that a knuckle buster will allow you to charge customers when the power is out. Realistically, this is hardly a reason to hang on to an outdated machine.

Besides, there are new technologies that will ring up your customers in the dark as well.

The next generation has already arrived!

Smartphone card readers, like Roampay, Square and PayPal Here, make credit card processing easier than ever. The reader turns your cell phone into a POS terminal that can be used anywhere (yes, even when the lights are out).

Card readers are dead easy to use and since you get charged a flat fee for every transaction, it’s easy to figure out what the commission will be for each sale.

The readers can be linked to a personal bank account or to a merchant account, and you get next-day deposits on all sales. Hard to argue with that.

Maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Whoa, that sounds a bit too technologically advanced for me!”, which is understandable. Or perhaps you don’t own a smartphone (which kind of removes the smartphone reader possibility).

Either way, the wide world of science and technology has another option for you.

A wireless POS terminal allows you to swipe cards in a similar fashion as you are already accustomed to with your knuckle buster. However, you’ll get the added benefits of shorter processing times, and your merchant account provider will help you keep organized, easy to access records of all sales.

There really is no reason to still be using a knuckle buster in this day and age. Plenty of excellent alternatives will make transactions easier to process, guarantee additional security on payments, and get you your money faster.

No need to hold back.

Business in today’s digital-marketplace moves faster than ever, and instead of sitting back and waiting for your credit card processing equipment to become obsolete you’re better off taking a pro-active stance.

When it comes to business technologies, the idea is to stay ahead of the curve instead of waiting for the curve to catch up to you and kick you in the butt.

If you need help determining which card reading solution would be right for you, we’re here to help. No two businesses’ needs are ever the same and when it comes to investing in a new processing system it’s always best to get advice from the experts ahead of time.

So why not give us a call and we’ll be happy to talk you through it?


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