Thermal reciept printer paper - anyone else have problems with fading?

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RogueRose

Joined Oct 10, 2014
375
I knew this stuff was going to be a problem years ago when I pulled some receipts out of my wallet and they had turned basically totally white (except for the advertisements on the back of the receipt...:rolleyes:). The thing is that I can't figure out how they faded in my wallet as temps shouldn't have been much above body temp or MAYBE 10 degrees higher at the most - I don't keep it in the sun, hot car or similar.

I went back through some receipts from 3-5 years ago that have been in a file drawer and they have faded to the point that they are unreadable and they have been in climate controlled rooms (80 degree max, 65 min).

I was wondering if anyone else had issues like this and knows why they fade even when high temps aren't present.

When a flame is applied the paper turns blackish but often fades to light grey after cooling. I haven't figured out how this stuff works yet- anyone know the deal?

I would think businesses who store these for tax purposes would hate these things as they degrade so quickly. Sure makes proof of purchase for returns more difficult in some cases. Anyone know what businesses do to deal with this - both for storage/tax purposes and for customer issues?
 

atferrari

Joined Jan 6, 2004
4,387
Same experience here. I am not surprised. All the slips I got from ATMs with my debit cards had been becoming unreadable with time.

In my case, the closest reference to each one is my hard printed bank monthly abstract. A problem really.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
The only permanent copy is a laser or inkjet copy. If you look at the chemistry (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermal_paper) you will see the term,"leuco dye".
upload_2016-10-22_19-59-6.png

Those are not stable. There are many varieties. Some are an acid-base reaction, some are a REDOX reaction (e.g., tetrazolium salts to formazans or leuco methylene blue to methylene blue).

John
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
I knew this stuff was going to be a problem years ago when I pulled some receipts out of my wallet and they had turned basically totally white (except for the advertisements on the back of the receipt...:rolleyes:). The thing is that I can't figure out how they faded in my wallet as temps shouldn't have been much above body temp or MAYBE 10 degrees higher at the most - I don't keep it in the sun, hot car or similar.

I went back through some receipts from 3-5 years ago that have been in a file drawer and they have faded to the point that they are unreadable and they have been in climate controlled rooms (80 degree max, 65 min).

I was wondering if anyone else had issues like this and knows why they fade even when high temps aren't present.

When a flame is applied the paper turns blackish but often fades to light grey after cooling. I haven't figured out how this stuff works yet- anyone know the deal?

I would think businesses who store these for tax purposes would hate these things as they degrade so quickly. Sure makes proof of purchase for returns more difficult in some cases. Anyone know what businesses do to deal with this - both for storage/tax purposes and for customer issues?
We scan them to a PDF and store them with the expense report or purchase order they correspond to in a database. Everything in one location (plus backups). Paperless is the goal.
 

JoeJester

Joined Apr 26, 2005
4,390
I would think businesses who store these for tax purposes would hate these things as they degrade so quickly. Sure makes proof of purchase for returns more difficult in some cases. Anyone know what businesses do to deal with this - both for storage/tax purposes and for customer issues?
The IRS accepts electronic records. So if you do have thermal printouts, I would follow GopherT's recommendation and scan them.

It's been that way since thermal printers hit the market. I remember the LTR size thermal printers.
 
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