Consumerist On Marketplace

We had a lil’ soundbite on American Public Media’s Marketplace tonight for a story on Ruby Tuesday’s installation of “ultra-secure” credit card transactions. (Remember, just because it’s broadcast nationally on public radio doesn’t mean it’s NPR…)

As usual, we brought our best, breathy, Debby Downer to the table:

    “Which is why some people think what Ruby Tuesday is doing only attacks part of the problem.

    Ben Popken of the blog Consumerist.com says he likes that several other restaurant chains are working on bringing the credit card device right to the dining table.

    BEN POPKEN: Taking out the human element cause that’s, you know, that’s where the con man thrives.”

What a drama queen! But what got left on the cutting room floor was a little something about how their new technology won’t prevent the waiter from using a pocket reader to scan your card on their way to the super-secure device. It’s a brilliant first step (not storing credit card transactions at a computer in the mall? WHODATHUNKIT?) but security measures are exactly just that, measures.

You can listen to the piece here. — BEN POPKEN

Comments

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  1. RandomHookup says:

    I have always loved that people who are scared to use their credit cards online let the waiter walk around the corner with their card and think nothing of it.

  2. faust1200 says:

    This makes sense assuming Ruby Tuesday hires from the Institution for the Criminally Insane.

  3. FLConsumer says:

    I’m more afraid of the 2700 calorie chicken than my credit card getting stolen there.

  4. Gena says:

    I’m with Ben! I don’t see why American restaurants can’t bring the credit card machine to the table. I was in Mexico last fall (not a big city, but not a tiny town) and not once did my credit card leave my sight. Every waiter brought the processing machine to the table, swiped my card, and handed it right back to me. If they can do it, I think we can manage it here!

  5. mad_oak says:

    IF ITS A CREDIT CARD, WHO GIVES A SHIT!!!! Doesn’t anybody understand the term ZERO LIABILITY???? Nuthin, nada, zero, zip. I have TWO credit cards on my KEY CHAIN, Discover and my illegal immigrant BofA Visa. You take ‘em! Go buy a frickin widescreen. I see the transaction 2 months later when I get around to looking at my Visa statement. So long as I notify Visa within 5 days of DETECTING THE FRAUD, I get an immediate credit, freeze all finance and late charges, they mail me a letter to sign and mail back in THEIR ENVELOPE. Done, credit is permanent, finance and late charges are permanently waived. Hell, according to Visa and Mastercard’s own rules, merchants are SUPPOSED to get an ACTUAL IMPRINT of the card to prove their transaction. No imprint, no proof the card was even present and no verification the owner authorized the transaction.

    Merchant’s that require ID? Against the rules. Your card is your ID, their imprint of the card is their proof, your matching signature is your ID verification.

    Merchant’s that accept cards with “See ID” in the signature panel? Against the rules. Signature on the back of the card indicates your acceptance of the issuer agreement. No signature, no agreement, merchant can’t accept it for payment.

    P.S. The rules are different when you use a check card, this rant wasn’t about check cards.

  6. Pelagius says:

    To be pedantic about it, a confidence man thrives on human frailties. A hacker exploits machines.

  7. andreadickson says:

    I heard the story on NPR last night on my drive home, and I was like, “Ben!”, like I knew you, and then I felt dumb, because I don’t.

  8. schvitzatura says:

    Ben, contact Nolan Bushnell, of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese fame…he has a new restaurant concept that incorporates table-side electronics, uWink Media Bistro:

    Guests may order food and drinks via screens at each table, through which guests may also enjoy games, movie trailers and short videos. The first Bistro has opened in Woodland Hills, California on October 16, 2006.

    So table side payment at a venue that is aleady wired up for entertainment would be a no-brainer…

  9. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    @andreadickson: When I heard Ben on NPR, I thought, “Ben Popken, my MAIN MAN.” Then I felt like dumbkopf b/c I’ve never met Ben OR Meghann.
    BTW, Ben, you have a cute accent.

    Also, Legal Seafoods/Boston has a new test restaraunt called “Legal Test Kitchen” that allows diners to order via WiFi cell phone/PDA. They let you surf the internet and order an extra clam “chowdah ” at the same time. Has anyone been?