Credit Card Readers in Canada

One thing I have found in Canada that I really wish the United States would emulate is how restaurants and other places take credit cards. Canada’s way of doing is much more secure and efficient. For instance, if you’re at a restaurant in the US and it’s time to pay the bill, you put your credit card in the sleeve with the bill and then the waiter takes it in the back and then runs it. Afterward, they bring back a receipt that you add the tip on and then sign it. They will then add the tip onto the credit card transaction after you have left.

Now, this is very insecure. Not only does your credit card leave your sight where a rouge person could take a picture of it and steal the information, there can also be extra amounts added to the tip after you have left. You have to really pay attention to your credit card transactions to make sure there isn’t any rogue activity going on. While I have only had my credit card stolen once and it appeared the credit card machine itself was hacked due to transposed transaction numbers that duplicated another transaction, other people’s information or extra money has been stolen by ways mentioned above.

Canada has solved this problem. Instead of them taking your card to a card reader in the back, they bring the card reader to you.

The card reader appears to connect over a cellular connection and you literally just swipe or insert your card (cards with chips are finally starting to take off in the US) right in front of the waiter. You then enter the tip you want and it finalizes the transaction right there and prints a finalized receipt. Your card never leaves your sight and also the transaction is finalized so extra charges can’t be applied after the fact.

Just like how the US is finally getting on credit and debit cards with chips in them, this is another thing they are way behind the times with. I’m pretty sure this is also common in Europe, but obviously our friendly neighbors to the north can easily teach us a lesson by example. Maybe this will eventually come to the US, but be 10+ years behind the curve. Working in IT and dealing with security, I really hope we follow Canada’s example and adopt this much faster.

To see more blog entries, click here.

If you want to contact me, click here.