Why Do Receipts Fade?

Have you ever wondered why receipts fade? I’m not talking about the chemical explanation, but why is it the norm to print something that fades easily? A receipt is a records of a business transaction, and in a lot of cases, keeping a record of this information is important. A receipt is submitted to health insurance providers, it is needed in order to cash in on supermarket allowances and other perks that employers provide, and it can even serve as evidence in a criminal investigation.

I googled this question, and I the only thing I found out was that a receipt is made out of thermochromic paper. According to the article, this paper is sensitive to the changes in temperature, much like a mood ring. The good news is: you can reverse the effects by exposing the faded receipt to heat, and voila the ink is back again.

This still doesn’t answer my original question though. What was the motivation behind the use of thermochromic paper for business transactions? Is this kind of paper cheaper? Does it serve business interests that these transactions are seemingly erasable? What was the history behind the use of thermochromic paper?

If you got the answer, please leave a comment below!

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2 thoughts on “Why Do Receipts Fade?

  1. The reason for this is because it is the cheapest method to print large quantities without having to constantly change ink cartridges (because it is the paper itself that allows the writing) and further it allows almost instantaneous printing — and those extra few seconds speed up the line up at the cash register..
    For most businesses that allow only a limited return period their purpose is served by having this type of output (and other businesses end up using this because the cost of these receipt printers is far cheaper than using a laser due to economies of scale for mini sized thermo printers).


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