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What is a Timecard

What is a Timecard?

A time care card is usually a piece of paper (ranging from notecard size to full length) that contains employee information such as: 

  • Name 
  • Dates Worked 
  • Hours Worked Per Day 
  • Total Hours Worked Per Week 
  • PTO 

Employees or employers record this information manually or through the use of a time clock. 

It is an easy and effective way to keep track of the hours an employee has worked. From those hours, HR can conduct payroll. Without some type of timecard or time tracking mechanism for hourly employees, pay and benefits can be affected.  

Types of timecards infographic.

Types of Timecards 

1. Paper Timecard 

This is a timecard in which employees or employers fill out time information by hand. It can be filed away for safekeeping. The information could also be logged into computer software. 

Here is an example you can download here:

2. Punch Timecard 

Most people are familiar with this type of time card, as it usually requires a special time clock. An employee will input this card into the time clock and their time will be recorded on the card. Some older models would punch holes in the card at specific times, although those are beginning to phase out. 

3. Swiping Timecard 

A swiping timecard doesn’t need to be filled out by a man or machine. It functions essentially like a credit card. You swipe at a time clock station and that time is electronically logged in software. This can be a better alternative for large volumes of employees and save time. 

Benefits of Timecards 


Timecards are fairly easy to implement even in small businesses. You can start implementing time cards with pen and paper then switch to “a punch card” or attendance system as your company grows.  

Effective Payroll Management 

Employees don’t like being underpaid for their hard work. With a timecard, you can ensure that doesn’t happen. You can also eliminate common tax mistakes that are costing you time and money.   

Protect Against Time Theft 

A timecard, when filed correctly, leaves a documented trail of time completed. Meaning you are never exposed to employees getting paid for work not being done. This also protects the employee as well against issues such as wage theft

Better Security 

If you handle sensitive information on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis, your organization can benefit from a timecard. The right timecard system can help you track who was working and when. Pair this with an access control system and you can make sure your business is secure on all fronts.  

Identifying the Right Solution  

Knowing the right type of timecard for your situation is important as it can help optimize performance and ensure accurate payroll.  

A “paper timecard” can be great for those just starting a business with a limited workforce and little money, think 10 employees or less. 

A “punch timecard” can be a good option for a company starting to expand past 10 employees. Your employees can filter through the time clock and then give you their timecard at the end of the week. However, as with the paper timecard, there’s a chance that the time documentation could become lost if employees leave work with the timecard. 

A “swipe timecard” can be best for those looking to automate parts of the time-keeping process, and still ensure employees meet at work at a specific time. Hours are logged automatically, and employees just need to swipe their cards when starting or leaving their shift. 

A timecard has its limits. A timecard system doesn’t account for remote employees, top-level security features, and full payroll integration. Timecards are also not designed for employees who may visit different locations every day.  

Needing Something More 

If you are looking for a solution that covers those needs as well as integrating your payroll then you need a time and attendance system. The right time and attendance system can: 

  • Track employee time regardless of location 
  • Monitor employee location with geotagging 
  • Integrate with payroll to alleviate valuable company time 
  • Provide robust security measures such as biometrics, retinal scans, and more 
  • Establish rules and procedures for clocking in 
  • Prevent tax errors or paycheck miscalculations 
  • Give employees the power to request PTO, sick leave, shift switching  
  • Gain data and insights into your company 

If you want to learn more about time and attendance systems and empower your company, you can check out our other guides here: 

Payroll + Time and Attendance Software: Integrated Solutions 

Best Ways to Track Employee Time and Attendance 

Want to find out more about time and attendance systems and which would be right for your business? Contact us today for free quotes on time and attendance systems that are tailored to your needs! 

Get free quotes from up to 5 time and attendance software suppliers!
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