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Stop Giving Your Credit Card To Strangers

How many times have you handed your credit card to a stranger in the past year? How about the last month? Or even the past week? Many consumers would be quick to answer, “never,” without realizing that they’ve probably given dozens of people access to their credit card within the past week alone.

Think about the last time you dined at a fancy restaurant or made a fast trip through the drive-through for a burger and fries or bought a new outfit at your favorite boutique. Do you remember how you paid? At the restaurant you most likely put your card in a black check holder then waited for your waiter to collect it. At the drive-through you pulled up to the first window and handed your card to the employee asking for $5.99. At the boutique you slid your card across a glass display to the sales associate behind the register. In all these instances, your credit card left your possession, putting your financial security at risk.

The U.S. is adapting to new global payment standards — slowly

Major parts of the world, such as China, Europe, and Canada have moved towards more secure payment methods and have adopted pay-at-the-table as a standard payment option. Though some restaurants across the U.S. offer pay-at-the-table functionality, some still maintain the unsafe practice of collecting the card to complete the transaction as a separate point-of-sale terminal, far from view of the cardholder. U.S. merchants’ hesitance to adopt pay-at-the-table functionality is partly due to the high investment in technology required, as well as a lack of options for working with existing POS Software services. PAX has these options now with third-party POS Software developers – many of which are available on the PAXSTORE, PAX’s global marketplace that connects you with hundreds of service providers.

Thankfully secure payment methods are becoming more mainstream in the United States. Mobile payment stations are used in retail settings where line busting is a must. Unattended self-service kiosks make ordering at fast food restaurants quick and easy. Many shops and gas stations have recently implemented unattended customer-facing terminals that allow shoppers to Tap, Insert, or Swipe their card or mobile wallet to complete transactions. Secure payment options now play a major role in keeping financial information strictly in the customer’s hands.

Developing powerful and secure payment solutions for an evolving world

Most merchants and retailers aren’t maliciously mishandling your financial information; they simply lack the knowledge and technology to allow customer-controlled payment options. As secure payment options become the standard throughout the U.S., retailers will have more options for providing secure payment methods to their customers. PAX believes in putting the customer experience first and ensuring that merchants have the tools to best serve their customers, such as a secure mobile solution. The PAX A920 is a sleek and elegant mobile payment terminal. This Android-powered device is a premier solution that empowers consumers to take control of their shopping experience. Weighing only 11.3 oz, the A920 can be carried to a table, passed through a drive-through window, or walked across a sales-floor. With 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 4.0 this mobile terminal can connect from anywhere in the establishment.

Mobile payment solutions like the A920 don’t just benefit customers; merchants and business owners can be held liable for endangering customer financial information through unsafe practices. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) says that “if a cardholder data breach has occurred or is suspected, the payment brands may require an independent forensic investigation to be completed by a PFI listed on the PCI SSC website”.1 A merchant may also have to inform any customers potentially affected by a data breach. Unsafe payment practices might seem harmless but processing non-secure payment transactions and mishandling customer credit card information can negatively impact a business financially and ruin its reputation. Thankfully, the A920, like all PAX devices, are certified to securely send financial information. As the terminal does its job, merchants and customers must practice due diligence to keep credit cards safe in retail and restaurant environments.

“Every time your card is passed to a server, bartender, concierge, or sales associate is another opportunity for a card to be lost, stolen, or skimmed”

Keeping your financial information safe in retail and restaurant environments might seem like a daunting task, but the simplest solution is to maintain possession of your credit card at all times. Every time your card is passed to a server, bartender, concierge, or sales associate is another opportunity for your card to be lost, stolen, or skimmed. Take full advantage of pay-at-the-table options, self-checkout registers, and ordering kiosks. In situations when your card must be handed to another person, pay attention to ensure that your credit card is only being used to complete your purchase.
As the global market moves towards more secure transaction methods, take notice of potentially unsafe credit card transactions, and make safe choices to protect you, your family, and your money.

For questions regarding PAX solutions on pay-at-the-table, mobile payments, and unattended/self-service, please reach out to [email protected] so we can get you the right products for your needs.