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Credit Card Transactions 101


RissaP
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This is just a courtesy reminder to everyone regarding the use of credit cards. I seem to notice a growing trend of people paying with credit cards at restaurants then the following day they check their accounts on-line disgruntled and in disarray. You will see that you’ve been charged twice! BUT PLEASE DO NOT PANIC! Unfortunately, restaurants do not have control over credit card processing companies' normal practice of stating 2 amounts. What this means is that it states a second and higher figure allowing restaurants to add 20% tip on top of the final check; this transaction doesn’t recognize whether the amount processed includes tip or not. All it takes is the final amount signed for then it automatically adds 20% to that final amount as leeway for restaurants for the “supposedly” tip amount. Hold your horses and read on… It's called a grace period that clears up to the final figure that is signed for in 7 to 10 business days.

We use Merchant Net, the company that processes credit card transactions for Corduroy. Of course, I do my research and demand details and answers from Merchant Net in case there is a discrepancy in billing; there could be a possibility of a mistake. There is nothing wrong about inquiring charges. That's understandable. But every single time I inquire I get the same answer. They look into the account and verify that indeed only the final amount signed for is charged to the account. They further explain that this is a normal process with ALL credit card transactions. This is especially true with Visa and MasterCard debit cards or check cards, thus allowing customers to view it on-line. The second amount with 20% allows restaurants room for “supposedly” the tip. This second amount indeed clears up in 7 to10 business days. Some people are pretty civil about the situation. But when it comes to a point when restaurants are being threatened and accused of doing “unethical practices”, it can be disheartening and unnecessary. I learned hard. I had a situation when a customer contacted me after 3 business days after dining at Corduroy. Even after inquiring with Merchant Net and explaining the situation, she literally forced me to give her a credit (refund) for a pending amount and in fury threatened to take her business elsewhere and tell everybody she knows to do the same; so I did. Of course Merchant Net verified the account holder was charged once and it did clear after the grace period. Now I have to charge that person again, not once but twice--one for her actual bill, the other for the credit given for the pending amount. And that person WILL indeed see 4 figures on-line for another 7 to 10 business days. Get the drift with the nightmare with paperwork if this is done for everyone! <_<

I apologize if this sounds confusing, but as I have mentioned, restaurants do not have control over this process. It actually happens in any establishments every time and anytime credit cards are used. On the reverse, think making a deposit to a bank and asking for your balance; you do not see it included until the next day. Clearing up in 7 to 10 business days… Why? How? I do not have the answer to that and is really beyond the restaurant’s or any establishment’s control. It is the credit card company’s, NOT the restaurant’s, policy.

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I used to work for a company that provided software support services and credit card network connectivity to restaurants, hotels, and resorts. The problem that Rissa outlines above was responsible for the #1 type of support call we'd receive. They were typically ugly and furious calls-- especially if a customer bounced a check because they were bright enough to use a debit card and attempt to squeek by on a few extra bucks in their account. The one thing that we found to help out in this difficult situation is to refer the customer to their card holder agreement (and their credit card issuing bank). There is legal language in there that states that their card may well be "over authorized" in certain situations. You may be able to find a typical card holder agreement somewhere online that has this language. Of course, the cardholder doesn't even know where this contract is let alone what it says, but the fact remains, THEY agreed to it.

The same thing happens at hotels but to an even higher degree. Say you stay at a hotel for 3 nights at $200/night. When they check you in, your card may be authorized for $800 to $1000 to cover incidentals and so forth.

The credit card banks are responsible for the practice, not the merchants. It does however, protect the merchant from cardholders with insufficient credit or funds.

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The one thing that we found to help out in this difficult situation is to refer the customer to their card holder agreement (and their credit card issuing bank). There is legal language in there that states that their card may well be "over authorized" in certain situations. You may be able to find a typical card holder agreement somewhere online that has this language. Of course, the cardholder doesn't even know where this contract is let alone what it says, but the fact remains, THEY agreed to it.

The same thing happens at hotels but to an even higher degree. Say you stay at a hotel for 3 nights at $200/night. When they check you in, your card may be authorized for $800 to $1000 to cover incidentals and so forth.

The credit card banks are responsible for the practice, not the merchants. It does however, protect the merchant from cardholders with insufficient credit or funds.

hank you for adding, clarifying and pointing this out Al Dente.

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Some people are pretty civil about the situation.  But when it comes to a point when restaurants are being threatened and accused of doing “unethical practices”, it can be disheartening and unnecessary.  I learned hard.  I had a situation when a customer contacted me after 3 business days after dining at Corduroy.  Even after inquiring with Merchant Net and explaining the situation, she literally forced me to give her a credit (refund) for a pending amount and in fury threatened to take her business elsewhere and tell everybody she knows to do the same; so I did.

h, and by the way, I forgot to include that this same person also demanded for my home telephone number during my precious one and only day off of the week! <_<

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I can attest I used to receive 5-7 calls per week regarding this issue. Now that everyone has access to their bank accounts/credit card statements 24/7, they see charges come and go and always believe someone is at fault. I worked as a night auditor in a bank in college (some year's back). You would not believe the mistakes that are made that customers never knew about!

Now, If I read Rissa's post correctly, her credit card processor makes two charges, one for the authorization and one for the actual charge. If that is correct, Corduroy should change processors.

One authorization should be the only charge on a particular evening (for 15,20,30% greater than the actual bill). Once you (Corduroy) receive the signed receipt from the customer, then the check is closed to that amount in your POS system. At the end of the night, the credit card batch is settled and the restaurant asks for X amount of dollars from the bank. The difference between the authorization and the settled amount is what should drop off in 3-5 business days.

I would be furious as well if I paid $100 for dinner, was authorized once for $130, and then settled A SEPERATE TRANSACTION for $125 (actual amount) and still had $130 and $5 pending on my account. I used Merchant Services and Merchant Link and never encountered dual charges for authorizations and actuals.

Don't even get me started about check cards. People, never use a check card. Ever.

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A problem seems to exist with transactions where a correction is made. When the card is first run for, say 100, the system goes out for an authorization of $120 automatically. The customer signs the slip for $118 including the tip. The customer winds up with a pending charge of $120 on their account (until their card processor reacts to our settlement and changed the amnount from $120 pending to $118 charged).

Now the waiter needs to settle the transaction (that is add the tip). Suppose a waiter puts in the tip incorrectly. The waiter goes back in and changes the tip to the correct amount. Our system sends out a message saying the first settlement has been zeroed out. For most card processors this message will be read by their system and only one pending charge will show up on the account. But in some circumstances (rarely with AMEX for example) two approvals will show up on the customers' account. If they use a debit card, the outcome is that they lose use of that money for the 3 or so business days it takes for the extra charge to "fall off"". In the entire time we have been open at Dino, I have taken maybe 15 such calls. I have always explained it and asked the customer to call me back if the charge did not fall off within the time period. No one has ever called back.

Last add: BAR spoke words of wisdom... Debit cards are the devil's spawn.

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Don't even get me started about check cards. People, never use a check card. Ever.

I personally would like to hear more about this. Is this more because they are not safe or a PITA for restaurants?

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Another thing to know is that it is possible for a credit card batch settlement to settle more than once. The fault could lie with the POS software, the merchant, or the processor. It doesn't happen often, but when it does it's obviously a nightmare for the merchant. Keep an eye on your statements!

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Last add: BAR spoke words of wisdom... Debit cards are the devil's spawn.
If debit cards are the fetid seed of the Great Deceiver himself, where does that leave credit cards? What's wrong with debit cards? I'm curious too now.
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The main point of that article highlights a major pet-peeve of mine: Restauranteurs: stop using POS systems that don't X out the account number. If the reciept was useless to the hypothetical thief in the first place, this wouldn't be as big an issue, liability issues or not.

I still maintain that debit cards don't make somebody Delaware basically own you.

--Matt

Property of MBNA

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I use my debit card at restaurants all the time and haven't come across this problem... yet. Good to keep in mind. Sorry to hear that it is becoming a pain for restaurateurs.

I do want to re-emphasize that it is rarely a good idea to use your debit card when checking into a hotel. Each hotel usually has a formula to "hold" a certain amount of credit based on your rate and the number of days you are staying, plus an extra amount to cover incidentals. That extra amount for incidentals depends on the property - in general, resort hotels will hold more than city hotels.

I learned my lesson the hard way a couple years ago after pre-paying for a hotel room at the W Union Square NY. I paid for the room when I made the reservation, then when I checked in, had over $2500 (the room rate for the entire stay plus a couple hundred a night more for incidentals) held after giving my debit card at check in. Didn't realize this til I bounced the rent check two days later. A very memorable lesson <_<

I read Al's "Lowdown" link, and although interesting, hasn't been updated in nearly 9 years. Not certain if the specifics it contains are current.

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Restauranteurs: stop using POS systems that don't X out the account number.

Amen! I thought this was illegal! (I'm pretty sure it is in California.) But I just dined at a very nice place that printed the whole card number on the reciept. In fact, that reminds me that I need to make a call and complain on that...

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The main point of that article highlights a major pet-peeve of mine: Restauranteurs: stop using POS systems that don't X out the account number. If the reciept was useless to the hypothetical thief in the first place, this wouldn't be as big an issue, liability issues or not.

I still maintain that debit cards don't make somebody Delaware basically own you.

--Matt

Property of MBNA

I don't udnertand this, if they used an old fashioned carbon imprint receipt, you would have your entire number on it. Why is the electronic version any different.

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I gotta say, the PIRG article was based on a significantly uniformed reading of Reg E and unauthorized transactions. Having been in both the credit card and banking industry for the past decade (and somebody who fearlessly uses his debit card while dining out) here's some additional info on the topics in the thread above.

"Double" Charges - Okay, I admit that I've actually called a bank when I've seen this (but never the restaurant) even though I should actually know better. When you provide your card (either debit or credit) to a restaurant, the card is swiped for up to 120% of the tab and makes what is called an authorization hold on your account. Despite what was said in the article and above, this is ALWAYS an "on-line" transaction because it limits the restaurants liability if there is insufficient funds. Restaurants can opt NOT to authorize ONLY if the amount is below $150 or some other factor (card signature is missing, etc.) This "hold" is generally not shown to customers since it causes some confusion, exactly as stated above, but some banks are doing it now. At this point, depending on the customers bank, when the final transaction comes in, either the hold will automatically expire on the second or third day following the transaction, or, at better banks, a "match-hold" will match the final settled transaction with the original "hold" amount. If customers are seeing both a hold and the transaction, REFER THEM TO THEIR BANK. Honestly. While clearly most of the restauranteurs and GMs on here are rightfully interested in assisting their customers and providing good service, you should not have to take the brunt of what is essentially a bad matching on the bank's part or irresponsibility in showing an auth hold amount to the customer.

Debit cards - Hmm, lots of suspicions probably fueled by the PIRG article, which quite frankly is basically incorrect in terms of your liabillity. Can a thief use your debit card number without having your card in hand to make a transaction? Yes, but the same way they can do this with a credit card. And not having the card present means the merchant who processed the transaction is more likely to have to eat the charge if you complain. Some facts about debit card disputes:

1) You should notify your bank immediately if you see a charge that you did not authorize. But you must do so within 60 days of receiving the statement that shows the erroneous transactions.

2) Liability - For debit card transactions where you type in your PIN (very uncommon at restaurants) if you report the fraud to your bank within 2 days you are limited to $50 in losses. This threshold is so high because the PIN is supposed to be known only to you -- frankly, if a thief gets your PIN, it's probably because you wrote it down or the person knows you. Again, for the purposes of our discussion here, this is unlikely to apply to restaurants.

For debit card or credit card transactions without a PIN (majority of restaurant cases), which are called signature based. You are protected by either VISA, MC or Amex liability limits which is the lesser of $50 or the purchase price so long as you notify the bank within 60 days of your statement.

3) Provisional Credit - If you notify your bank of a fraudulent charge (make sure to do so in writing even if you do call), the bank MUST provisionally credit your money back to your account within 5 days (VISA/MC transaction) or 10 days (PIN transaction) while it investigates the fraud and contacts the merchant, etc.

Sorry for the long diatribe, but bottom line is that: 1) Authorization holds are normal and if the customer sees two postings, refer them to their own bank. 2) Despite what the PIRG article implies, writing checks on your account is actually less safe and provides less consumer protection for potential fraudulent transactions and lower liability than using your debit card (although the merchant does pay a fee to accept your debit card to pay for their goods and services) or credit card.

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I don't udnertand this, if they used an old fashioned carbon imprint receipt, you would have your entire number on it.  Why is the electronic version any different.
Because...We Live In A Different World Now, Mr. Gastreaux. The days of turning the heads of the check-writing classes with the smart shi-shink of the credit card imprinter as the clerk at Sachs rings up a snazzy new pants suit (Not you personally, of course, just the pants-suit was thematically sound) on your new American Express 'credit card' for you to wear on your Eastern Airlines flight to Miami are over, and the New Reality of having your digits sold for 79 cents each (order by the hundred thousand, please, Paypal accepted) by a lanky Eastern European youth have set in. Not that there weren't 'carders' lurking around the 'elite' boards of local BBSs and 0wn3d (that word again!) collegiate X.25-connected DECs and Honeywells back in the day, but the problem has definitely blown up in recent times. On the physical printer, yes, you needed the full number because that was literally the record of the transaction that needs to be transmitted long after the fact to the credit card company.

My point is (and unless I'm mistaken) once the transaction has been sent electronically with the POS, the restaurant and reciept have absolutely no need of the full account number used, and if they really, really do need it can be stored securely in the system itself.

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My point is (and unless I'm mistaken) once the transaction has been sent electronically with the POS, the restaurant and reciept have absolutely no need of the full account number used, and if they really, really do need it can be stored securely in the system itself.

I think they are required to keep the signed copy of the receipt for a certain period of time, if I'm not mistaken.

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Then how do so many restaurants get away with having me sign CC reciepts that only have the last four of the number? Odd!

That would be your copy, most likely on thermal paper, that you take with you out of the restaurant. The copy that stays in the restaurant needs to have the entire number. If not, the restaurant risks losing any challenge to the validity of a contested charge--which is, of course, its right.

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That would be your copy, most likely on thermal paper, that you take with you out of the restaurant.  The copy that stays in the restaurant needs to have the entire number.  If not, the restaurant risks losing any challenge to the validity of a contested charge--which is, of course, its right.

That's not been my experience. The merchant copies I've seen have only four digits.

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<shogun>

It would be easy enough, instead of printing a credit card number, to print an encrypted numeric code (or barcode, or 2-D data matrix) that encapsulated the CC number, expiration date, time, and amount of the transaction, which would obviate the need to print CC numbers on the receipt (the last 4 digits actually being a check for the buyer to make sure the right card was run).

</shogun>

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<shogun>

It would be easy enough, instead of printing a credit card number, to print an encrypted numeric code (or barcode, or 2-D data matrix) that encapsulated the CC number, expiration date, time, and amount of the transaction, which would obviate the need to print CC numbers on the receipt (the last 4 digits actually being a check for the buyer to make sure the right card was run).</shogun>

Exactly! It's like this:

Receipt = {CC number, exp. date, timestamp, amount}

ReceiptHash = HMAC(Reciept, Diner.SecretKey). This gives you a code you can use to later verify 1) Who paid the bill and 2) That the record wasn't altered.

Append the has to the reciept to get R = {Reciept, RecieptHash}

A printout of R isn't really worth anything...it'll just be a normal printed reciept with a long number or BASE64 string (160 bytes, I think) at the bottom. This won't do anything to dispute resolution except you can't deny having been there (assuming the keypair or certificate was issued by a responsable certificate issuer) or not having spent what you did. Guess the restaurant can sign R with their secret key and mail you Sign( R ) for your records.

Now to record keeping and storage: The restaurant will take R and encrypt it with a symmetric key they have on a smartcard. If they need it again, then can decrypt it. , but since the key is on the smartcard (protected with a PIN or biometric authentication!) it can't be stolen or cracked, short of a flaw in the algorithms.

How this will work practically ( :) )

You go to Thawte or Verisign and get a public key and certificate after reasonably proving who you are, and have it stuck on a smartcard or a multipurpose deal like your credit card (AmEx Blue people, you may already be set!) with embedded chip. We'll assume that this stuff is sufficiently pervasive that 1) It's come down in price a little and 2) Being used for more things than 'just' securing restaurant reciepts. The certificate is also entered into Big National Restaurant PKI (or less formally, tacked onto your OpenTable record) so people can get at your certificate and public key (this is both safe and critical to the process). The restaurant also has a smartcard with their certificate and a symmetric key.

You go to dinner and ask for the check. This is where it gets a little nasty...we're returning to the days of having to bring a credit card machine to you. Your key material is protected on the chip, but you're going to have to enter a pin to be able to get at it (or it wouldn't be protected now would it?). You insert your card and enter the pin, and the card and machine work together to compile the reciept: The machine knows what you owe and EXACTLY what time it is, your card handles the hashing and encryption (You're not going to trust their crypto hardware, are you? click) Alright, then what....this is getting messy. Then I guess Somebody In Charge needs to encrypt the receipt. I guess the POS can do that automatically using restaurant key material stored in a NIST FIPS140-1 compliant cryptograpic processor (Ex: IBM 4758 Ignore the fact that the 'click' link is about pulling a 3DES key out of this very board <_< Neat story, bty ) such as those found in ATMs. Alright, I never said it would be as easy as letting some random dude in a restaurant have four and a half minutes of quality time with your credit card, but it's an extra step with a PIN. You could probably also have readers on each table (or built into the card folder they give you...need a little keypad for tip...shouldn't be a big deal in hardware terms) communicating wirelessly (No WEP, please ) with the POS and have such as a thumbprint reader. It wouldn't be too big.

There! You securely paid your check and minimized the exposure of sensitive data. Your digits are secured and the restaurant has the ability to follow up on problems. Everybody wins.

Everybody except Tom Sietsema. Nobody will give you a X.509 certificate in a false name (and if we're talking PKI, the system should work up the signing chain). The restaurant will know EXACTLY who you are. Sorry Tom. ;)

--Matt

Finger me for my public key

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Chip and PIN has been semi-mandatory in the UK for about a month now, with the attendant arguments about whether it is or isn't more secure than signatures. One assumes it can't be any less secure than a signature that doesn't get checked. And they do have a portable unit that gets carried to the table in restaurants, so save the sofa change for another venture. <_<

The official line on how it works is here, along with the exceptions; a practical translation is here.

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Got some time on your hands today, Matt?

Uh, yeah, whatever he said.

Actually, AmEx Blue holders are no longer set...they've been phasing out the smartcard versions for the past year, replaced with proximity RFID cards instead. No PIN, no signature, just a wave over the box (all CVS stores, for instance).

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This is just a courtesy reminder to everyone regarding the use of credit cards.  I seem to notice a growing trend of people paying with credit cards at restaurants then the following day they check their accounts on-line disgruntled and in disarray....

The only time I've ever made a panic call like this is when I saw my card had only been authorized for the exact amount of the bill not including the server's tip! I didn't want our waitress to get stiffed, so I rang 'em up. She happened to be working again that day, and was able to verify she'd gotten tipped out properly.

I never did figure out why the initial charge was only for the amount of the tab; maybe that's state law in Pennsylvania or something.

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As of January 1, it is illegal for the restaurant to have your full credit card number available. Our system keeps it in the system thru a feature called use previous card where I can change the details on a specific card for a specific table.

The issues with debit cards are many. First the service fee is way higher than for a credit card. It averages about 3.5% vs. 2.25% or so. You will pay this fee regardless if you use a debit card or credit card. I have to adjust my markups to cover my credit card fees and am not allowed to recover them directly from the credit card transaction (i.e. I can put one markup or charge on for a debit card, another for Amex, another for a visa master card transaction. Second, when a multiple authorization event takes place, you have your own money blocked, not just your credit limit. And in all likelihood, you bank ain't the folks doing the blocking so you have little recourse or routs of help. So if you need to pay for car repairs with your debit card tomorrow, don't use it at a restaurant tonight!! Third, the rules for your consumer protection are require more jumps thru hoops for a debit card than for a credit card.

As to the mystery of double charges on a credit/debit card... an example: we had a table the other night where my server ran the card on the wrong check. I was able to correct the situation without asking for a second authorization and as far as I know, everything turned out all right. But the table next door used a debit card. They did have 2 transactions on their card blocked out. They were out another $100+ dollars for 3 days or so. Why? I have no idea. We did nothing out of the ordinary. We swiped the card once and we settled it once. My system is set up that a manager number is needed to do anything out of the ordinary and I was the only manager there that night. So I am almost completely certain that nothing out of the ordinary happened.

But this customer now has paid for the dinner twice, at least for at least a period of a few days, when she would rather pay for her plane tickets. I did not receive twice the money. I only got the original amount. Since it is a debit card, I doubt her bank is going to front her any money. If it was a credit card transaction, she would probably be able to talk her way into a credit line increase to cover her plane tickets.

The DEVIL'S SPAWN I say!

(note: posted after most of a bottle of Albert Mann Tocai 2001 Cuvee Albert) <_<

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I never did figure out why the initial charge was only for the amount of the tab; maybe that's state law in Pennsylvania or something.

It's actually at the disscretion of the merchant or the merchant's acquirer/processer. They are allowed to authorize anywhere between + or - 20% of the actual check (although no idea who would authorize LESS than the actual tab <_< )

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If debit cards are the fetid seed of the Great Deceiver himself, where does that leave credit cards?  What's wrong with debit cards? I'm curious too now.

It has been stated here before, but essentially, if there is a problem with your debit card, you are out CASH until it is fixed. Five days is a long time to not have access to several thousand dollars of your own money. (Still bitter after all these years)

If there is a screw up with your Credit Card, you are only out credit, which your bank can easily extend to you if you were in a pinch. They aren't so free with cash, even if it is yours.

Re: CC #'s on receipts. I believe most POS machines, at least the ones I have worked with (MICROS/Squirrel/Aloha), you can program how you want the CC # to appear on the receipt. The default setting used to be the entire card number. Some systems may still defaualt to that. You still should have the entire card # recorded in you CC# Batch Detail Report.

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Re:  CC #'s on receipts. I believe most POS machines, at least the ones I  have worked with (MICROS/Squirrel/Aloha), you can program how you want the CC # to appear on the receipt. The default setting used to be the entire card number. Some systems may still defaualt to that. You still should have the entire card # recorded in you CC# Batch Detail Report.

This is correct. We use Squirrel and have programmed our system so only the last 4 digits appear on the receipt. The entire card # is stored in the host computer for reference.

I don't udnertand this, if they used an old fashioned carbon imprint receipt, you would have your entire number on it.  Why is the electronic version any different.

People do use check cards; I see it being used a lot. And I do agree with Jacques Gastreaux, I still encounter manual swiping of credit cards, let’s say at mom n’ pop places or outdoor events.

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Did anyone see this story on credit card skimmers found at local restaurants?

this is nothing new. i first heard of it a few years ago when it was happening in chinatown. going back even further, does anyone remember gangster turf war stories tied into a restaurant or two in chinatown? wasn't someone on eye street found bound and gagged in the basement? it was part of the mystique. alan alda would probably know the answer because he had his picture taken at just about every chinese restaurant downtown.

but getting back to the subject, is dealing with american express really so costly and difficult that there's a point in not accepting it, as is the case with a few prominent restaurants around town?

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but getting back to the subject, is dealing with american express really so costly and difficult that there's a point in not accepting it, as is the case with a few prominent restaurants around town?

In the past I have asked buisnesses that very question and was told that the serivce charge is higher and they take longer to pay. This still true?

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You still should have the entire card # recorded in you CC# Batch Detail Report.

Actually that was the case until January 1. New creditcard regulation in effect then make it illegal for your cc processor to leave the number in the batch detail. This makes it hard to go back and give credits or make adjustments as you now have to call your processor. If your system does contain this information, it should not.

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but getting back to the subject, is dealing with american express really so costly and difficult that there's a point in not accepting it, as is the case with a few prominent restaurants around town?

I work in a small veterinary practice. At our transaction level, which is relatively small, American Express fees are significantly higher (I don't know the numbers, just what my boss tells me), to the point where we don't accept that card unless the client has no other form of payment.

Even the larger hospital within whose walls we rent space, with a staff of more than 2 dozen doctors and 100+ staff total (i.e.: lots of appointments, procedures, and significantly more and larger transactions) still prefers not to accept American Express, but does so because of client demand.

I've heard many complaints from business owners about the difficulties of dealing with AmEx and getting paid in a timely fashion, but I don't have any first-hand knowledge of that.

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Even the larger hospital within whose walls we rent space, with a staff of more than 2 dozen doctors and 100+ staff total (i.e.: lots of appointments, procedures, and significantly more and larger transactions) still prefers not to accept American Express, but does so because of client demand.

i have heard complaints from my youngest brother who owns a business, but still accepts it. i noticed that my dentist has started accepting it as well, although i have difficulty bringing myself to charge medical expenses or groceries, despite the fact that i receive double points on my american express card for the latter. over the years, american express provided remarkably good customer service, i.e., when the owner of kramer books refused to negotiate even an even exchange for a book i had purchased there the previous day and then discovered was not the book i was looking for. i left it on the counter as he wished me good look in getting an adjustment on my credit card, which amex was happy to do. however, i have also had problems with this company on the promotional side, approaching scams, which i assume is fairly common among credit card companies.

i guess my question is this: do restaurants not accepting it believe that they are saving money and that the loss of business is negligible? i understand why it would be cash-only in a perfect world, but just for a start, who wants to lug around that much cash. (got to dash, the hall monitor is passing.)

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I was prompted to see exactly what people say about viewing “2 charges” with on-line accounts and how long it would clear. Just out of curiosity and concern, I did a self-test using my OWN VISA check card at Corduroy and this was EXACTLY what I viewed and my result:

April 11, 2006

Made a sale in the amount of $10.00

Got home that night and immediately went on-line to check my account:

Pending Transactions = $11.50

Clicked on “Help”

What are pending items? = “Pending items are transactions that have been AUTHORIZED and that the bank is committed to pay but have not yet posted to your account. These transactions include items such as Check Card and teller cash transactions, ATM withdrawals, and point-of-sale (POS) purchases.”

What types of items are available for viewing? = “Checks and some deposit tickets are available for viewing. Paperless items, such as ATM withdrawals, Point of Sale purchases and check card purchases, will not have an image available for viewing.”

Unfortunately, my account did not show any double charges.

April 12, 2006

Same info. as April 11, 2006

April 13, 2006

Same info. as April 11, 2006

April 14, 2006

Pending Transaction = “No pending transactions”

Transaction History

Date: 4/14/2006 Description: Corduroy Rest Debit: $10.00

There you go…

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When signing the credit card slip in a restaurant, I've developed the habit of signing the top copy, grabbing everything underneath, and leaving. In recent months, however, there have been several instances of me being pursued out the door by frantic servers telling me I've left the wrong copy. Is it my imagination, or didn't every single restaurant in the world put the merchant copy on top until fairly recently?

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When signing the credit card slip in a restaurant, I've developed the habit of signing the top copy, grabbing everything underneath, and leaving. In recent months, however, there have been several instances of me being pursued out the door by frantic servers telling me I've left the wrong copy. Is it my imagination, or didn't every single restaurant in the world put the merchant copy on top until fairly recently?
I don't think it makes any difference which copy the merchant keeps. The transaction already has been process electronically. The only reason they need to keep a hard copy is to guard against some later claim of unauthorized use of the card. All they probalby need is any piece of paper that shows the name, card number, what they bought and the signature. Many places keep the signature electronically.
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