Make a criminal's day: leave your card behind the bar - Spend & Save - Money - The Independent

Make a criminal's day: leave your card behind the bar

Part with your plastic next time you run up a tab in a pub or restaurant, and you could be held liable if it falls into the wrong hands. Sue Hayward investigates

We've probably all done it – gone to the pub for a leisurely Sunday lunch or had a few drinks after work and happily handed over our credit card to run a "tab". But while it saves dipping into your pocket every time you go to the bar, if your card is lost or used fraudulently, you could in theory be held responsible.

CNP (cardholder not present) fraud has soared over the past few years. The most recent figures, for the first half of last year, show scams of this sort up 44 per cent compared with the same period in 2006.

Sandra Quinn from the Association for Payment Clearing Services says: "CNP fraud is the biggest single type of fraud we have and it's no great secret that we're expecting the figures to be even higher this year."

These statistics can't be attributed solely to fraudulent activity taking place while credit cards are out of sight behind a bar. However, handing over your card to run up a tab is "definitely a security risk", says Tim Pie at HSBC. "We'd recommend our customers ask why it's necessary for the pub or restaurant to take the actual card, as letting it out of your sight can in some circumstances lead to it being skimmed."

The widespread practice of skimming, the illegal copying of card details and pin numbers electronically, is made easier for criminals when the card is out of the owner's possession for a long time.

Ms Quinn points to the terms of the Banking Code, which state that customers have a responsibility to take "reasonable care" of a card, but says there are no ground rules and that "it would depend on your relationship with your card company as to how they would handle the situation".

Barclaycard has more than nine million credit cards in circulation in the UK, and it too places ultimate responsibility with the customer.

"Cardholders should never let their card out of their sight, and this includes handing them over to run tabs in bars and restaurants," says Barclaycard's Sarah Conyers.

Other banks and card providers, including the Halifax, Sainsbury's and Egg, strongly advise customers against this practice.

Chris Holloway is a founder of CardsSafe, a company that has produced a lockable unit for customers' cards, for use in pubs and restaurants. He says: "When you think that the average number of cards behind the bar could run to 20 or 30 on a busy weekend night, with some pubs sticking cards in glass jars behind the counter, on shelves and even on clipboards, you can see how easily card fraud can occur."

But whatever security measures are in place, if there is a corrupt member of staff at your local, you could become a victim of fraud. Don't think, either, that you can necessarily rely on insurance products such as a cardholder protection policy to fund any losses that arise. As Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers says: "The general principle under any insurance is that you've got to take reasonable care." He admits, though, that the waters are muddied, since there is no clear definition of "reasonable care".

Ultimately, the advice from banks and credit card companies is to hang on to your plastic at all times. Bear in mind, too, that the new methods being employed by pubs and restaurants to improve credit card security aren't just about giving customers peace of mind; they're also designed to put more money in the till. We spend an average of 30 to 50 per cent more by setting up a tab than if we had kept hold of our cards and paid the bill in cash.

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

    £280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

    Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

    Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

    £35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

    Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week