Skip Nav
The Ultimate Travel Bucket List For Water-Lovers
Nope! What This Person Did on a Plane Is Not OK in the Very Least
You Have to See This Navajo Nation Tribal Park to Believe It

Dining Out More Securely

Is Dining Out More Securely Worth Any Discomfort?

For as long as I've been eating there, one of my favorite places to drink and dine in San Francisco has used their system of bringing the credit card machine right to the table instead of taking your card to run it at the register. It made me a little uncomfortable the first time because you have to tell the server what total should be charged to your card, including tip, and while I have absolutely nothing to hide in terms of tipping it still felt odd at the time. Obviously, I got over it and have gone back time and time again.

What I hadn't thought about is the fact that this system of card swiping is more secure than the common alternative. Your card never leaves your sight, so you can be sure there's no room for error or theft of your card's details. The practice of paying table-side has been popular in Europe but it's taking time for American restaurants to make the transition. A newer handheld device has the ability to let the customer select a tip percentage and complete the transaction, receipt and all, without the help of a server. In that case, I think the whole question would be a no-brainer. But how do you feel about the model that's currently being used in restaurants like the one I love?


Join The Conversation
Just-Oh Just-Oh 9 years
Concur with RosaDalia. Identity theft and credit card fraud are two reasons why I reverted to using cash for most transactions.
amber_castaldo amber_castaldo 9 years
I think this is a great idea. I hate it when they take my card out of site!
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I never thought about it before I saw a segment on The View about schemes people run to collect card information. We only use debit cards, so it would be pretty bad if someone decided to steal the card info and steal our money.
graduatedsqueaks graduatedsqueaks 9 years
This made things a bit awkward at a restaurant I went to, only because we weren't quite sure how to use it. You'd think with two college graduates, we'd be able to figure it out...I wanted to pay for my part of the bill, including tax and tip, which would be an easy thing to set the machine to do...I actually thought I was doing it right, until it only charged the amount of my food, not tax and tip. So my friend ended up paying the extra amount. It would be pretty easy to have a system that selects what you ordered, add on tax, and give you options for tip amounts...
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
this is actually somethign that's very common overseas. when i was in france an the UK among other places - this is how they would bring you your check and everyting and i felt ok with it - and it was actually faster. besides, the Apple store has been doing this for a while too - if you don't have to wait in line, and you know where your card is - then what's the issue? just make sure that you're not giving your card to some random person with a card machine and you're safe.
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
it would be worth it to me. It would only be uncomfortable for me because I take so long figuring out what I'd want to leave for a tip. It would be nice if a 3rd party did the credit card not your server so you could tip what was deserved and not a higher tip just because they see you do it.
piraterie piraterie 9 years
I'd be all for this. I usually try to pay in cash, especially since my card almost got lost one time (the server dropped it when she was bringing it back to me and it's so so so lucky someone honest found it), but sometimes I end up having to pay with a card, and I'd be so much more comfortable not letting it out of my sight.
shanimalcracker shanimalcracker 9 years
I definitely saw this practice a lot when I was in Europe and it didn't occur to me that security was the reason! The first time I saw it happen to someone, I thought that their credit card had a problem so they needed to input things themselves, but then I saw it happen over and over again. It's an interesting practice, but I agree that if you have to tell your server the tip, it can be a little strange.
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
I like it at the apple store because you don't have to wait in line. But when i'm already sitting down at a restaurant -- it seems like it would take more time for the guy to go to everyone's table individually while you pay your bill and sit there trying to figure out the tip. Rather than taking three checks, processing them at the same time, then bringing you the final bill where you can take your time to calculate the tip.
ggfan ggfan 9 years
I really like this idea. It's like at the Apple store, they can bring a little machine and you can pay for your purchase on the floor, so much easier and safer.
mayara mayara 9 years
PS - Many "security" things that you actually notice are there largely to make people feel more secure, more than actually making you more secure. I find that icky.
mayara mayara 9 years
The only additional security is in reducing the chances of someone who sees the card copying the numbers. You're still assuming that there isn't a man-in-the-middle or dishonest reader (a machine reading and storing the credit card information for reasons of credit card fraud before it's sent to the correct destination), which is still the same in either case, for example. So, it wouldn't make me feel any more secure (and actually less so, as it would indicate untrustworthiness of the people I'm paying with my card), and it would make me feel extremely uncomfortable, if I had to say how much for the tip.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
As a former victim of identity-theft (my bank card numbers were stolen, though I never misplaced the actual card), I like this idea. But, as was mentioned, it might yield a naive impression of safety, while offering no further security and protection from identity theft (if your card numbers are still listed on the receipt, they could still be purloined).
lula29 lula29 9 years
It wouldn't make me nervous. The waiter would probably be more nervous about this than you because they can see right in their face how you judged their service based on their tip, or lack there of. I used to be a server and I hated being around when people tipped me. However, merchants still might have access to your credit/debit card numbers because the merchant copy usually reads differently. That's what should really be universally changed. You really are trusting that the merchant or one of the employees doesn't rip you off every time you swipe your card.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
I don't worry about this. I always pay cash when eating out.
Liss1 Liss1 9 years
Great Idea!
ALSW ALSW 9 years
I think it would not only make me less uneasy when they walk away with it, but would also speed things up a little bit. This is the part that always seems to take so long about eating out and this way seems faster and much more secure! I'd get over the uncomfortableness.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
I would like to try this out. It makes me so nervous when I give them my card. Especially when the restaurant is busy and they end up having my card for like 5 or 10 minutes! I always try to have cash on me but sometimes when I eat out on a whim all I have are my cards.
$5 Meals
Disneyland Deep-Fried Corn on the Cob
Lobster Elote
Churro Ice Cream Sandwiches Recipe
From Our Partners
Latest Afforable DIY & Organization
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds