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Is it secure to pay with a credit or debit card at restaurants?

It is every business's responsibility to ensure credit card or debit card security and to protect the data and privacy - of the owners, managers, employees, customers, and business associates.  This applies to restaurants as well.  Credit card or debit card fraud is one of the most popular ways that enables thieves to conduct fraudulent purchases and often enables identity theft.

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What can the business do to ensure credit card or debit card security at restaurants:

  1. Restaurants should take multiple steps to ensure that their customers are protected. Some of them are listed below:
    Credit card machines should be upgraded to accept the newly implemented chips on credit and debit cards. Chips are more secure than the stripe in that it is much more difficult to copy a chip rather than the data from a stripe.
  2. Receipts with signatures should be stored securely under lock and key.
  3. A number of credit card or debit card frauds happen with corrupt wait staff copying the card onto a handheld card reader prior to swiping the card through the authorized card machine. The staff then sells copies of the credit/ debit card information for personal gains. Restaurant managers should carefully and randomly observe wait staff to reduce card fraud from occurring in their restaurant.
  4. Another solution is for restaurants to implement a charging process where credit and debit cards are swiped/ inserted at the customer's table which will again reduce the chances of fraud since the card never leaves the customer's table. This solution has been implemented in high-end restaurants in several countries with the sole purpose of minimizing credit/ debit card fraud and thereby reputational risk.
  5. Restaurants should also invest in getting compliant with PCI-DSS regulations which show that they follow the required information security standards. Being PCI compliant may give restaurants savings in terms of credit card fees and payment hold periods. Getting our clients PCI compliant is one of the services we provide at 24By7Security, Inc. See our PCI compliance page for more details, 24By7Security is a certified PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) company, authorized to assess businesses against the PCI DSS standard so that they can maintain high levels of ongoing security of sensitive data. 

To summarize, while there is always a risk of using a credit or debit card at a restaurant, there are many steps that restaurants can take to minimize this risk and to help their patrons feel more secure.


Sanjay Deo
Sanjay Deo

Sanjay Deo is the President and Founder of 24by7Security Inc. Sanjay holds a Master's degree in Computer Science from Texas A&M University, and is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), Healthcare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP), Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA) and PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA). Sanjay is also a co-chair on the CISO council and Technology Sector Chief at FBI InfraGard South Florida Chapter. In 2022 Sanjay was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the President of the United States. Subscribe to the 24by7Security blog to learn more from Sanjay.

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