What is a time card?

What is a time card?

Here’s everything you need to know about using this time tracking method at your workplace.

What is a time card

Every moment counts. That’s especially true for time cards. The hours recorded on time cards eventually add up to cold, hard cash. Here’s everything you need to know about these timekeeping documents.

The Big Picture

  • Time cards record working hours, and are traditionally used with employee time clocks.
  • Time cards can serve as an important record for legal compliance, and help businesses run smoother.
  • Time card records can be digitized for easy storage and payroll processing.
  • What is a time card?

    A time card is a record of your working hours. Sometimes used interchangeably with “timesheet,” time cards are traditionally used with time clocks. A time card records your clock punches, or the times you started and stopped working.

    While time cards are a type of timesheet, these terms are not completely synonymous. Timesheets aren’t necessarily used with time clocks; for example, a contractor may fill out a timesheet to demonstrate specific time spent on tasks. However, a time card can provide the data needed to fill out a timesheet.

    Time Card Data

    Whether you are using timesheets or time cards, they should always contain the following information:

    • Employee’s name and/or ID number
    • Pay period covered
    • Dates worked
    • Work start and end times
    • Overtime hours (if applicable)
    • Total hours worked for the pay period

    A time card’s dates usually correspond with a pay period. For example, if your business uses a bi-weekly pay period, your time card will contain the hours worked for 2 weeks at a time.

    Time Card Data

    Types of Time cards

    The type of time card you need is determined by your time clock type.

    • Punch Cards. These old-school time cards are paper sheets that are inserted into a traditional punch clock, which stamps your start or end time directly onto the card.
    • Swipe Cards. These new-school time cards are used with electronic time clocks and may double as an employee ID badge. You’ll slide the card through the machine, which records your time.
    • Online Cards. These fully digital time cards are accessed via the internet and use cloud data storage. You’ll use an online portal to record your punches, which are recorded digitally.
    • Mobile Cards. This subtype of online time cards can be accessed via a mobile device for time tracking on the go.

    You may also be asked to fill out a “paper time card,” or a timesheet. These timesheets don’t use a clock, and are filled out manually by hand with pen and paper.

    Are time cards right for your business?

    Time cards are a good option for businesses with a staff that’s paid on an hourly basis. They’re also good for any workplace that wants to use a time clock to boost productivity, forecast labor resources, and monitor project progress. They’re also a way to stay legally compliant. It’s best practice to maintain timesheets if you’re running a business in the United States. That’s because you’re required by federal law to keep records of hours worked (and to maintain those records for a minimum of 3 years). While some employees are exempt from these requirements, they apply to almost all hourly workers.

    The Benefits of Time Cards

    Whether your time cards are traditional paper or stored in the cloud, they can help run a better business.

    • Boosted Productivity. Time cards are a way for employees to keep an eye on the clock and make sure they’re using the most of their hours.
    • Punctual Attendance. Time cards encourage workers to start and end on time and as scheduled since punches punctuate their shifts.
    • Labor Analysis. Time cards provide a valuable labor record that can be used to create effective schedules and prevent understaffing.
    • Legal Compliance. Maintaining time card records will keep your business covered in the event of litigation or an audit.
    • Payroll and Invoicing. The most practical benefit of time cards: they make it easy to pay workers and bill clients on an hourly basis.

    While paper time cards can be a hassle to collect and correct, modern time clock technology digitizes time cards, making them more accessible than ever.

    How to Set Up Time Cards with OnTheClock

    With OnTheClock, you can set up your time cards in just a few minutes by configuring your online time clock.

    Initial Setup

    You can configure your time cards via an internet browser or our free mobile app. Regardless of your preferred platform, you only need to do this once.

    On a Browser

    Step 1: Create your free OnTheClock account.

    Step 2: Navigate to “Settings,” then “Time Clock Settings.”

    Step 3: Set your time zone, as well as your pay period type and start date.

    On Mobile

    Step 1: Download the free OnTheClock app for Android or iOS.

    Step 2: Create your free account.

    Step 3: Launch the app and tap on the gear icon to open settings.

    Step 4: Tap on “Account Settings.”

    Step 5: Set your time zone, as well as your pay period type and start date.

    That’s it!

    Now you’re ready to invite your employees and start tracking time. After the initial setup, you can customize your overtime and PTO settings to meet your unique business needs. When it’s time for payday, you can choose who reviews your time cards before sending your time cards to payroll providers.

    Play Your Time Cards Right

    The easiest way to track employee time is with OnTheClock. Our online time clock is accessible from any device with an internet connection.

    We create no-fuss digital time cards for you. Employees simply punch in and out. You get highly accurate time cards, so you can process payroll in just a few clicks. Plus, we offer support from time tracking specialists at no extra cost.

    Designed with small businesses in mind, we’re priced to be affordable as you grow. The best part? You can try us free for 30 days — no credit card required. So go ahead. Book a demo or start your free trial now.

    Accurate Time Off Tracking

    Frequently asked questions

    While either “timecard” or “time card” is acceptable, using 2 words — “time card” — is more commonly used in standard American English. Whatever you decide to use, just be consistent!
    A handwritten time card (or timesheet) is an acceptable way to track hours. However, this type of manual time tracking is more prone to errors. For accuracy, we recommend using a time tracking system with a time clock and time card.
    A time card app (short for “application”) can be downloaded to your mobile device and used for time tracking on the go. Many time card apps have GPS capabilities so that you can see employees’ punch locations and track them while they’re working. While some time card apps are standalone, many are an additional feature of online time clocks like OnTheClock.
    Time cards can be used in accounting for the cost of specific types of labor. Cost accounting involves maintaining data about labor expenses in order to improve management and operations. With information from time cards, cost accountants can track productivity across teams and individual workers, helping to identify strengths and weaknesses.
OnTheClock Employee Time Tracking

Written by

OnTheClock Team

OnTheClock is the perfect app for business that want to keep track of their employees' time without spending hours doing it. With OnTheClock, you can forget about the old way of doing things.

Do you want to know more about how OnTheClock works?

Leave Your Thoughts...

(required, will be shown)
(required, will not be shown)