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Giving out your credit card number


transfattyacid
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Just read this thread in the Vancouver forum, and the subject of giving out your credit card # to confirm a booking came up .

I think this is a good discussion point.

Giving the paranoid and skeptical amongst us a chance to voice there concerns about security.

Conversely a platform for the chefs and restaurant owners to educate their customers about the economic impact of the no- shower`s.

Personally, i see it as a commitment issue, but thats my very humble opinion.

Maybe there is a middle ground, ie selling tickets to an special event ?

any thoughts people?

if so get involved below .

tt
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I have had 2 security issues come up this week. The first had to do with my debit card. The bank sent a new one with a letter saying there had been a breach, and that they didn't 'think' there was a problem, but were sending everyone a new debit card just in case. The breach had to do with hackers getting into a mortgage buyers database and the bank had sold our mortgage to them and somehow they could backtrack to our accounts. The second has to do with pay-pal. My son has an account but I made him quit using it after reading about a breach in citi-bank's accounts that had to do with pay-pal. Yesterday a package arrived from an e-bay vendor to my son. He's a 20 year old musician/student and got a 2 tiered party plate with gold trim sent to him, in his name, to his address. The look on his face said it all. I tracked the woman down on e-bay and e-mailed her to see how this was paid for but haven't heard back yet. I've also notified e-bay. I suspect somesort of pay-pal breach, but really have no idea. I did think it was a joke, but his friends wouldn't waste their beer money (7bucks for shipping) on something like that.

That said, giving your card # over the phone is a pretty risky thing...around here, well they wouldn't even ask, but in places that do you have to be able to trust that their employees are trustworthy and arn't selling the information. My sister has had a problem with that in the past in New Orleans. I don't know what the answer to that is, except if the reservations are far enough in advance, you could mail a deposit.

I'm not paranoid, but cautious. Especially now.

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I don't see this as a 'big deal."

If a restaurant is going to abuse your credit card--they will do it as easily when you hand it over to pay for a meal in person (how many of us walk the card over to the terminal and watch every move as a waiter runs it?)

Frankly, a phone line (landline of course) is probably more secure than the internet.

Also--as we are liable for fifty bucks (I think) then simnply checking one's bill every month is a no brainer.

ps

I was also called and issued new cards by my bank due to "breach"--it was explained to me that the banks are now very cautious whenever they suspect even a chance for a problem.

As for the practice of securing a reservation--I understand it. Giving a number and being liable for a fee if one does not show up --assures that a real committment is being made and that the person will be aware of the need to confirm and also to call/inform the restaurant of any problems. Unfortunately, too many people are cavalier about reservations these days and restaurants are, in business to make a profit!

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I was a victim of identity fraud to the tune of $28,000. It was the worst experience of my life for the minute I discovered the fraud....

I had my card in hand, but it was the statement that told me that someone had probably made a fake card and went shopping. They bought computers, jewelery, toys, clothes, and cosmetics.

They timed the crime to coincide with the Christmas season, I'm guessing to disguish the purchases with all the other holiday shoppers.

Luckily my bank immedately replaced my money into my acccount.

I have no idea how they got my numbers, but I don't suspect online purchasing. I continue to buy online.

Banks are so good about replacing funds that I find the risk to be minimal. Unfortuately, we are all paying for this convenience.

"Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”

Francois Minot

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I gave my credit card out over the phone a couple of years ago to secure a Valentine's Day reservation at El Gaucho's. Nothing fishy happened with my credit card, but they still managed to lose my reservation. :hmmm: Luckily they were good enough to seat me quickly anyway, even though there was quite a line.

M. Thomas

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I understand the importance of assuring that I'll actually show up for a reservation. I've never been a no-show, so my appearing is not the issue. However, I am too aware of credit card fraud, so when I'm asked for a number to confirm a reservation, I give it, but alter one number so it cannot actually be used. Since most of the restaurants either write it down, or log it in the computer without verifying it, it's not a problem. When I appear, I can pay in any manner that I like.

Again... I do this because I'm never a no-show, it's not hurting anyone, but I sure as hell am not giving my credit card to anyone unless I'm actually making a payment for something at that moment.

“"When you wake up in the morning, Pooh," said Piglet at last, "what's the first thing you say to yourself?"

"What's for breakfast?" said Pooh. "What do you say, Piglet?"

"I say, I wonder what's going to happen exciting today?" said Piglet.

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

"It's the same thing," he said.”

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I’m not comfortable with giving out my card # more often than I have to, but if you want to eat at certain restaurants, it just has to be done and trying to work around this is a hassle that I don’t find to be worthwhile. So I just use virtual card numbers. Ask your credit card company about them. You can have a card number and corresponding expiration number generated for a single use. I’ve started doing this on a lot of online purchases, too.

It helps me feel a little better about giving out the number. It also satisfies the restaurant and avoids an unpleasant argument over why I don’t feel I can trust them. Not all card companies offer them, but they should.

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On the commitment issue I would no sooner guarantee my place at a dinner table than I would actually pay for my seat at the opera, theater, music hall, etc. before I've seen the show. Okay, you get the picture. I just don't understand why restaurants allow no shows to get away with it. Hotels will only hold my room up until a certain time to give them the chance to sell the room. If I want to arrive at midnight, all I have to do is give them my credit card number. We've had this discussion a number of times and I've been on record as saying I would think it would fair for the restaurant to bill a minimum meal price at the time the reservation is made and for the diner to pay for supplements, wine, etc. when he's finished eating.

The worst fraud anyone in my family has suffered came from a box of new checks stolen in the mail. The bank was quite good about returning the money to the account in a reasonable time and stopping all checks afterwards, but the various venders hounded us for years. Imagine upwards of 50 guys telling you that they didn't care if you didn't write the check, but wouldn't it be worth the couple of hundred bucks just to be sure they didn't screw up your credit record. Indeed, your bank account is more sensitive because you have to get the money back rather than not pay the bill and argue the charge(s). I've suffered a number of credit card frauds as well. For the most part the banks caught it before I did and notified me of what they thought were bogus charges before I got the statement.

I lost track of the actual number of people I know have seen one or more of my credit card numbers, but it's safe to say that at least one person has seen it each time it's used. At a restaurant, this is a food site, I have no idea how many people see it after the waiter takes it, nor how many times it's copied or the number recorded. If I keep my head up, there's the fifty dollar limit, which although rarely charged, is also covered by my homeowner's insurance. My wife's a travel agent and sometimes asks for a client's card number by e-mail. It's funny when they call on the phone because they con't want to send it by e-mail. I don't know which is more secure, but the likelihood is that my wife will forward it to the airlines or other party over the internet. When a restaurant checks your card, they aren't exactly sending a guy over to the Visa or AmEx office in an armored car. It's handled electronically.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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i used to work as a reservationist for a well-known restaurant in seattle. we started asking for credit cards to deal with no-shows. in a restaurant that only has 17 tables, this can really kill us...especially if we are turning away potential customers. no-shows affect staffing, tips, etc. it's not good for anyone at the restaurant.

so many first-time customers get upset when i'd ask for it. if i had a nickel for every "i've eaten all over the world and i've NEVER been asked for my credit card number."

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You know, we do this all the time in the hospitality industry. As others have said, this is common practice in the hotel and airline industry, and why shouldn't restauranteurs be able to have the same kind of security. I agree with it, as long as the cancellation policies are explained well in advance, much like a hotel's. Is it 24 hours in advance? 48? Same day cancel ok? Will there be someone to dispute this with if necessary? As long as you can make the customer have a comfort level with those questions, there really shouldn't be an issue.

The best example I can use for this is how the Cipriani's manage The Rainbow Room in NYC. When I took my girlfriend there for her birthday, they were quite upfront about the difference. If you are making a reservation for dinner, they don't require a credit card. However, if you are going for dinner and dancing, it is secured by a credit card. If you are a no-show, you are charged the $150.00 per person and sent a gift certificate for that amount. Cancellations within 24 hours are fine. And they even called 3 times during the week to confirm. Needless to say when we were going to be late (Lincoln Tunnel + Stormy Weather = Traffic Jam), there was an incentive to make a quick call to the maitre'd besides just being respectful of them. It worked for all ends.

"What garlic is to food, insanity is to art." ~ Augustus Saint-Gaudens

The couple that eGullets together, stays together!

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You could probably provide a number for a debit card.

unfortunately (I think) we are moving rapidly toward a "plastic society!"

It has been proven that when people use plastic rather than cash to pay for things (especially meals) the average expenditure rises dramatically!

for eg:MacDonalds average check has increased since they started accepting credit cards.

the truth is: people are less dilligent about spending when they charge things.

that is they are more aware of what they are buying and paying when they have to actually count out the money and hand it over.

In the "old days" no one really had any grasp of what their healthcare really cost--Blue Cross/our employers "payed" for it. we rarely saw a or looked at a bill.

The only time I ever personally got into credit card debt of consequence was due to charging food!

The moral is: for whatever benefits there are to charging there are a lot of downsides. We need to be careful!

As for the restaurant reservations charge issue--too many people are too careless when it comes to etiquette here--those of us who are dilligent about confirming reservations and showing up or calling ahead to cancel will just have to put up with this!

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Where does this practice leave those of us who do not use plastic?

Alas, it leaves you not very far away from those who do not use money. Transactions become difficult to make and you are more limited every day in every way. For years after I had a number of cards, I avoided using them partially in the belief that what John said was true. The more people used credit cards, the faster prices increased. I found my little protest didn't have much effect on the economy, and it was a real pain trying to remember to refill my pockets with cash when all I had to do was to carry a couple of thin credit cards with me at all times. My life is so much simpler since I gave in and started using credit cards regularly. Your milage may vary. I suppose you have no reason to ever rent a car, reserve a hotel room or make purchases by phone or over the internet. When, or if, you ever do, or if you will need to reserved a table in a particular restaurant, I suppose you will use plastic. Until then you don't have to. I could suggest why someone might want to establish a credit rating and that getting a credit card might be the best way to do that, but it's really not my place, nor is this the place, to lecture anyone on the subject.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Mastercard and/or VISA now offer a product for those who either cannot acquire credit cards or choose not to have them for their own reasons. It's a prepaid card with a specified amount of value and can be be used exactly as a credit card or VISA "check card" is used but it does not draw from your checking account. I have no idea whether one pays a small percentage upfront for the privilege but imagine the banks make enough on the float that no fee is needed.

There are so many downsides to using such a card that I won't bother to list them (and they're not food related). But one could purchase some of these in $50 or $100 increments and use them for prepaid/guaranteed restaurant reservations.

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You can always have one and use it to reserve your hotel/rental car/table at restaurant (probably anything but air and concert tickets or most internet purchases--although I think PayPal can work with a bank account rather than a credit card, not sure) and then pay in cash/debit at time of receipt; I recently held a rental car on a card but paid the actual bill with debit when I turned in the car.

I think this works for anything for which the card is used as insurance against no-shows, and an actual amount is charged at a later date. I recently held several spots for a restaurant event on my credit card, but may charge on a different card or debit at the time; my companions will be paying their own shots, as well.

Agenda-free since 1966.

Foodblog: Power, Convection and Lies

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hmm, odd edit it seems...

FWIW, i can't think of a joint i've worked where your CC# was not recorded in the res book along with your name, etc. The res book is usually left sitting at the host(ess) station for anyone-staff or other-to glean. Very easy to pick a name and cc# for anyone so inclined.

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You can always have one and use it to reserve your hotel/rental car/table at restaurant (probably anything but air and concert tickets or most internet purchases--although I think PayPal can work with a bank account rather than a credit card, not sure) and then pay in cash/debit at time of receipt; I recently held a rental car on a card but paid the actual bill with debit when I turned in the car.

I think this works for anything for which the card is used as insurance against no-shows, and an actual amount is charged at a later date. I recently held several spots for a restaurant event on my credit card, but may charge on a different card or debit at the time; my companions will be paying their own shots, as well.

Invariably, whenever we check out of a hotel, they ask if we want the bill charged to the credit card we used to secure the reservation. When we haven't guaranteed a room with a credit card, I find many hotels will ask for on when you check in, and that ask if you want the stay charged to that card when you leave. When we're comped at a hotel (an industry perq that happens all too rarely these days) we'll be asked for a credit card anyway to cover room service, minibar and the possibility we'll trash the room like a rock star.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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I have one reserved for reservations and the internet. Easy to track.

Bruce Frigard

Quality control Taster, Château D'Eau Winery

"Free time is the engine of ingenuity, creativity and innovation"

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321

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Where does this practice leave those of us who do not use plastic?

Good point , the reason i broke my... ,.. errrr... , ...what ever i broke ???, and got a credit card was to be able to do just these sort of things , i rarely spend with it. i just use it to secure a rental car, or a table, or a hotel room, or buy weird stuff online, or not now as i got a pay pal thing goin` on .

I always resisted getting plastic. I managed 30 years before i got one. finding them kinda handy these days.

So my answer to you is. Bite the bullet and get one. its not that big of a leap of faith .

Or persuade the restuarant in question to secure your table. and give them some other form of guaranty. You could be creative with this , tell them you`ll name your first born after the restaurant , see where that gets you ?

P.S any one wanna buy some used weird stuff ?

tt
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