What Is Thermal Receipt Paper?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2019
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Thermal receipt paper is widely used in commercial transactions, such as those conducted in stores and restaurants. This special paper changes colors when it is exposed to heat. When making a purchase, a person may have several options, such as diameter, length and color. Although this receipt paper is commonly fine, there are some heavy duty varieties, which are popular in certain industries. Individuals should be aware that there is some concern about the health risks associated with using varieties that are made with Bisphenol A.

Heat sensitivity is generally the defining characteristic of thermal receipt paper. If it is laid under a heat lamp, beneath a hot plate or if it is left on a window sill on a sunny day, it will generally change colors and may become illegible. It usually turns black, but it is possible for it change to other colors. Individuals should note that it is not the paper that reacts to heat, but rather a coating that is placed over the paper.

There is a wide range of varieties available for those interested in purchasing thermal receipt paper. One choice that a consumer will need to make is the width and diameter of the paper. This choice is normally determined more by the type of printer that is being used than it is by preference. When it comes to selecting the length of the paper, an individual may have more liberty to base the decision on personal choice.


Thermal receipt paper may be a single sheet or it may be multi-ply. Some suppliers even offer the paper pre-printed with information that is standard in certain industries. For example, a dry cleaning business may be able to purchase thermal receipt paper with terms and conditions for the use of drying cleaning services pre-printed. In addition to potentially saving time, another benefit of doing this is that it will help a business to save ink or the need for separate items to communicate this information. Consumers may also have the option to select from a variety of colors, such as blue, green, and pink.

There are some concerns about the use of thermal receipt paper that contains a chemical called Bisphenol A. Some organizations have lobbied to ban the use of thermal paper that contains this chemical. It has been found that Bisphenol A can be transferred to the skin simply by holding a receipt for a matter of seconds. This has led some to question the effects that may occur if the chemical is then absorbed through the skin or otherwise ingested. All thermal receipt paper does not contain the Bisphenol A.


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