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Keeping Bar Tabs

The Myths & Benefits

At CardsSafe, we specialise in food and bar tabs. Our wireless system makes the process professional and secure and helps venues to upsell by keeping tabs. CardsSafe is a proven and genuine deterrent for walkouts and chargebacks. It enables staff to upsell, increases trust between the venue and customers, and is why over 5000 brands, including Young’s pubs, Hilton Hotels, Lord's Cricket Ground, and many independent restaurants and bars, utilise the system.


We’re often asked if retaining cards is safe. What about GDPR? What if the bank card is stolen, and is keeping cards even legal?

Here are a few myths and benefits of keeping tabs.


Contactless Payments

With more and more contactless, chip & pin or phone sales, it is much less likely that customers will run a tab. According to VISA, venues that encourage running tabs will have at least 30% higher takings than those that do not. We suggest offering tabs for parties, groups and those eating or drinking outside. The option will allow your staff to upsell and increase profits.

Is it Legal to Keep Tabs?

Interestingly, it has actually NEVER been illegal to retain cards. The banks created the Chip & Pin scheme to shift the liability of any card losses away from the banks and onto the cardholders and merchants. What was illegal was to allow customers to drink alcohol on credit, i.e., run a liquid tab. However, the Blair government repealed this in the latest licensing act, so nothing is illegal.

GDPR Compliance

CardsSafe does not store payment details, so it is always GDPR compliant. The customer’s bank details are not affected since the vendor does not record any information. As the card is under the control of the cardholder via the unique purple key, there is no conflict between using CardsSafe and GDPR. It is safer for the card to be placed in a CardsSafe box than left in a till or folder behind the bar.


Stolen Bank Cards

Even though Chip & Pin was meant to do away with Customer Not Present (CNP) transactions, most banks will still accept this, and you can run the charge against the card. We also recommend that before you put a card in the CardsSafe box, you run a 1 penny charge against it (which is taken off from the final bill). The EPOS system will alert you if the card has expired and/or has been reported stolen.


Benefits of using CardsSafe in bars, restaurants and pubs:

• Manage customer tabs

• It helps to increase spending, therefore, profits

• A significant deterrent to dine & dash

• Offers customers security against credit card fraud

• Builds customer trust

• Affordable – pays for itself

• No data capture – GDPR compliant

• No electrics are needed


The wireless CardsSafe units can be placed discreetly behind the bar and work alongside existing POS. At just £9.95* + VAT per unit per month rental, CardsSafe really pays for itself. The question is, can you afford not to have CardsSafe as a part of your business?

For more information, please visit:

Or contact the sales team on:

0845 500 1040

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