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Retaining Bank Cards – The Myths Debunked by CardsSafe

We sometimes get asked questions by hospitality and leisure venues about retaining bank cards. Questions like, is keeping cards safe?

What about GDPR? What if the bank card is stolen?

Here we dispel some common myths about retaining bank and ID cards.

Q1: We use contactless; why would we want to retain cards?

A1: With contactless, customers are much less likely to run a tab. According to VISA, venues that encourage tabs will increase sales by at least 30%, so if you want to increase sales, run a tab!

Q2. What happens if a customer leaves their card?

A2: The duty manager can access the card in the draw with a master key, record the event and pay off the tab with a CNP transaction if the issuing bank allows it. As a matter of customer service, the cardholder should be contacted, and an offer should be made to return the card.

In addition, if a customer leaves their card behind, they will be happy that nobody can misuse them.

Q3. What about Covid? Surely, it's not safe to leave your card behind the bar?

A3: No additional risks are associated with leaving a card in a CardsSafe draw. Also, since all hospitality venues operate in a Covid safe environment, handling customer cards should be treated like anything else a customer might meet during a visit.

Q4. I thought it was illegal for a business to retain bank cards.

A4: It has actually NEVER been illegal to retain cards. Banks created the Chip&Pin scheme to shift the liability of card losses away from the banks and onto cardholders and merchants. What was unlawful 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 However, the Blair government repealed this in the latest licensing act, so nothing is illegal.

Q5. What about GDPR?

The CardsSafe system does not store any payment details, so the customer's bank details are not affected since the vendor does not record any information. Furthermore, as the card is under the control of the cardholder via the unique purple key, there is no conflict between using CardsSafe and GDPR.

Q6. What if a customer gives us a stolen card?

A6: 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 recommend that before you put a card in the CardsSafe box, you run a 1 penny charge against it (which is taken off the final bill). The EPOS system will alert you if the card has expired and/or has been reported stolen.

Q7. What if the customer wants to pay their bill but cannot find their key?

A7: Use the manager's master key to access the customer's card from the box and complete the payment transaction. Politely ask the customer to return the key when it is found. Call CardsSafe customer service for a free replacement key.

Find out more about CardsSafe's Best Practices here -

For more information, please visit

Or contact the sales team on 0845 500 1040


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