Credit card issuers in Australia have spoken of the importance of the raised numbering on cards and why these must live on despite vast technological improvements in recent years.
Credit cards have had to adapt over the years to meet new digital technologies. Magnetic strip cards, chip and PIN, and, more recently, cards designed for mobile payments, all show how transactional technology is advancing.
Yet, for all this, the three main credit card issuers, Visa, Mastercard, and Amex, insist that embossed credit cards are an essential failsafe for traders when electronic and mobile devices fail.
The most important reason for embossed numbering is – as Mastercard puts it – "global interoperability".
Not all retailers have access to online transaction facilities. Embossed numbers means that all merchants across the world, including those who do not have access to online processing facilities, should be able to process a credit card payment.
The old fashioned imprinters are also considered to be a safer option for both merchants and consumers than writing numbers down manually.
"Writing down card numbers is time consuming and if you’re using this method as a backup, you probably don’t want to slow down the transaction any further," said Fritz Quinn, a Sydney-based Director for American Express.
"Inconsistent or illegible handwriting can cause confusion with manual processing."
Credit card companies have also become more wary of transactions involving card numbers that have been written down. Merchants, meanwhile, are liable for fraudulent purchases if they unknowingly use invalid card details.
But raised numbering is also vital for times when technology fails or when mobile coverage is unavailable.
"Card numbers are raised so merchants can take an imprint of the card to complete a sale," said Andrew Craig of Visa Australia.
"They’re used as a backup in cases where a merchant’s terminal is not working."
So, despite Ka-ching and other revolutionary mobile payment devices, traditional credit cards are here to stay, and for good reason. Whilst hardly ground-breaking, the slight raising of a few numbers could still prove a saving grace at any time.