The End of Credit Relief

Recently my wife got a new debit card in the mail. The number on it is not printed in the raised, blocky font that we’ve grown accustomed to. Instead it is in a standard font that is flush with the face of the card. If you rub your finger over it you can feel a bit of texture, but it’s very slight. The number is basically just printed on.

We’d both grown so accustomed over the course of our lives to raised numbers on financial cards that we did a double-take when we first saw this one. Was it some temporary card, and the real one was still on its way? After a minute we realized, no, this was the real thing. Raised numbers on credit cards were a convenience when retailers processed credit cards by running them through a carbon copy imprint machine, but serve no function now that cards are scanned electronically. (This renders useless the few imprint machines hanging on at craft fairs, farmers’ markets and the like, but here you just revert to the ancient technique of copying the number by hand.)

History marches on. I wasn’t anticipating this, but in retrospect I’m surprised it took so long.

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