Video: Restaurants fight card fraud with tableside payments


A pay-at-the-table approach may help stem fraud that can occur when a waiter disappears with your card.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

We now have chips embedded into our credit cards. That must mean they’re totally safe from fraud, right? Wrong. Countries that have used chip cards for years still take measures to keep your card information from getting into the wrong hands.

Americans may now be getting more secure credit cards, but there’s still some catching up to do when it comes to fighting credit card fraud. For instance, in England, when you pay for your meal at a restaurant your card never leaves your sight.

As opposed to in the U.S. where a server typically takes your card and brings it back with a receipt. It’s a practice that leaves your information vulnerable and one that is starting to change.

We’re used to it — handing over our card, watching it disappear behind a wall and not worrying for a minute about its security. But, we should. Though the U.S. only accounts for a quarter of the world’s credit card use, it’s the home to almost half of the world’s credit card fraud. One way fraud happens is when your card leaves your sight.

“So this is a magnetic card reader,” says Ken Givens, credit card payments expert, gesturing to the small device in his hands. “Any waiter or bartender can buy this on eBay for $40. They swipe the card and steal the information and then sell it on the black market for $15-$25 per card number.”

Which is why in London, the waiter comes to your table and completes the whole transaction in front of you. The tools for tableside payments aren’t that expensive and besides being safer they can also be more convenient. Some major chains such as Chili’s have been rolling out tableside payments over the last year.

“This is the future of everything. Technology, making things more convenient and definitely with the security issue, I think it was something we had to look at,” says Justin Glotfelty, a general manager at Chili’s.

“I’ve had identity theft several times on my credit card and I love this security feature,” says Lisa McClellan, a customer at Chili’s.

And as technology gets more sophisticated every day, with credit card readers that can even plug into a mobile phone, more restaurants may decide to give the control of the card back to the customers. There will soon be no reason to give your card away and pray it’s being handled with care.

See related:  Magnetic stripe begins its farewell tour, Advances in fraud analytics promise to stop crooks, not you, Avoiding fraud in a post-EMV world

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Videos

Video: 3 things to know about credit card minimum payments

Find out what a minimum payment is, how it’s calculated and how it affects your debt — in about a minute.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: September 16th, 2020
Cash Back

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.