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Credit Card Fraud: Portable credit card terminals - Italy Restaurants

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Mar 20th, 2016, 10:42 AM
  #1
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Credit Card Fraud: Portable credit card terminals - Italy Restaurants

Hi, thanks again for all your help in my other threads for May 2016 Italy/Switz trip.

In Italy restaurants, (cities or towns) are handheld portable POS or point-of-sale credit card terminals or readers COMMONLY used? The handheld card reader waiter will bring to the table, so your card is not out of sight from you?

I have the usual popular travel credit card with CHIP-Signature. Chase. Sapp Preferred, etc. My past 3 trips from 2013 to 2015 to France and Spain, ALL the restaurants from Michelin and tavernas and beach shacks, have portable hand-held credit card terminal they brought to the table.

Now what should I expect in Italy? Places I'll be: Rome, Milan, Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Ravello, Lakes District and surrounding towns (Bellagio, Stresa, Varenna etc) I will be Lugano Switz too and will have lunch and would rather pay with credit card for lunch.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:01 AM
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Yes. I have not come across any other method of verifying a transaction in Europe in the past 6 years. However, you may still come across places that do not accept cards or prefer not to because of the charges made by the banks.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:17 AM
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My question is mainly about the portable/handheld credit card readers that waiters would bring to your table at restaurants.

If this handheld card reader is common in Italy. Thus preventing credit card fraud to some degree because your card and the payment processing is done at your table.

What I don't like is the exposure to fraud when a waiter takes your credit card and disappears to the back of the restaurant to process your credit card payment.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:21 AM
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>>My question is mainly about the portable/handheld credit card readers that waiters would bring to your table at restaurants.<<

Chartley answered that. >> I have not come across any other method of verifying a transaction in Europe in the past 6 years.<<
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:33 AM
  #5
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I did see this: posted in 2012. Traveler whose card payment at a Rome restaurant was processed not on the table, but at the back out of sight.
http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...raud-alert.cfm

...."He did walk off with our card so it is hard to know if it was in house or if it was someone with a "reader" somewhere.....

Now that it's 2016, makes me wonder if handheld/portable credit card payment terminals are more commonly used in Italian restaurants. The inconvenience of credit card fraud is more difficult to deal with in Europe compared to home in the USA.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:35 AM
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Are there portable terminals in Italy? Yes. Are they used in all the restaurants? No. But in almost all restaurants you can stand up, go to the cash register and pay personally there, usually with the card being swept or inserted into the terminal in front of you.

I would personally add that I live in Italy, I use credit cards fairly frequently and my card was never cloned in Italy. I had an ATM card cloned in Santander, Spain - I suspect a rigged ATM machine, as it was the only instance I used that card in that trip.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 12:01 PM
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I first encountered a handheld credit card terminal in Montalcino (a small Tuscan town) in 2001. So Italy is pretty advanced in this area.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 12:19 PM
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It doesn't matter if they bring the pos terminal to you or you go to it. You put your card in and enter your pin. The waiter/shopkeeper never handles the card.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 07:55 PM
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hetismij2 - Credit cards don't have a pin - only debit cards. At least that is what I have always seen in the US. I would not use a debit card since I think you have less recourse if there is a problem. Years ago in Paris my debit card ( with Visa logo) was charged twice. It took forever to get the bogus fee reversed. I would use AMEX or cash.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 08:09 PM
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here we go
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Mar 20th, 2016, 08:38 PM
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tuscanlifeedit :

LADYYN: >>hetismij2 - Credit cards don't have a pin - only debit cards. At least that is what I have always seen in the US.<<

Don't even go there. First of all, European credit cards DO have PINs. Second, yes, even American credit cards can have PINs (to get cash advances - a very bad idea, but still a PIN is required to get one). Third, US credit card PINs are not used in Europe when buying things - Americans have to sign instead of using a PIN. Fourth, using an ATM card w/ PIN is a totally different issue.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 09:45 PM
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Fifth,
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Mar 20th, 2016, 09:48 PM
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[Wrong key]

Fifth, SOME US credit cards, including one of mine, do have a PIN other than for cash advances, but it is only used at unmanned kiosks, not in stores and restaurants. I believe there may even be one or two that are PIN-preferred...
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Mar 20th, 2016, 09:54 PM
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. . . But that will just confuse her
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:06 PM
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If you saw a repotrt of a fraud in 2012, no reason why there wouldn't be one in 2016.
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Mar 20th, 2016, 11:52 PM
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Asps has the right answer. Handheld POS machines are quite common in Italy. And you can always go to the cash desk and pay there, which is what we usually do anyway. You can even go to pay before your check is brought to the table. Just tell them your table number, and they'll print off (or write up) the check.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 01:12 AM
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OR....pay with cash. Problem solved.
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Mar 21st, 2016, 05:21 AM
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Our policy is to only use a credit card for hotels and we pay cash for everything else. When we pay at the hotel the card is not out of our sight. After traveling in Italy since 1980, and yearly since 2005, we find most places prefer cash. This strategy works for us and it might be something you might want to consider.

Buon viaggio,
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Mar 27th, 2016, 10:29 AM
  #19
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Hi All,

Thanks for contributing to this thread. Now I know what to expect. I was trying to gauge how common the portable terminal card reader in Italy regular restaurants.

At Michelin-starred or High-end restaurants, in France, Spain, USA, Asia, I know what to expect at payment.

My past 3 recent trips to Europe were mainly in France and Spain. ALL restaurants have portable card readers. From €500+ meal I had at 3* Michelin in San Sebastian to tapas bars in Born of Barcelona.

My last trip to Italy was 5 yrs ago. Paid mostly cash at regular restaurants.

For my 4 Rome dinners, I'm thinking Pergola, Glass, Metamorfosi plus one more. But for lunches, just regular restaurants. I will probably eat close to where I'm at while sight-seeing. 2 or 3 blocks off just to avoid tourist traps.

We are somewhat of a foodie and also look for authentic local cuisines. Only by doing in-depth reading did I get to find out travelers' BAD experiences in Rome restaurants, and scammers in the restaurant industry.

While watching Anthony Bourdain in Rome, he said something about "bad meals in Rome." It made my ears perk up. I went, Oh nooooooo, I better research this. I've been indulging in super good food in France and Spain in past 3 trips. My expectation is also super good food in Italy.
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Mar 27th, 2016, 10:46 AM
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You might want to take a look at my trip report that includes Rome; click on my name to find. We ate at a couple of restaurants, one of which is also a delicatessen, which would qualify as higher end and more local than the normal tourist places.

I suspect that credit card fraud takes place less at the point of entry than by a breach in security further down the line. I would not worry about it.

I will be Lugano Switz too and will have lunch and would rather pay with credit card for lunch.

My embarrassing moment: I ws visiting my cousin in Luzern and insisted on paying for lunch. It was a restaurant outside Luzern but on the waterfront, not low end at all although not expensive by Swiss standards. I had little Swiss money as I was just passing through, and tried to pay with my credit card. The restaurant did not accept credit cards. My cousin had to pay.
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