Credit cards are more dangerous than cash in a few ways. Not only is it easier to spend money using plastic than surrendering dead presidents, but if you lose the cash, it’s a known loss. If you lose your credit card, or worse, have the number lifted electronically, BIG headaches can ensue.
Here are some helpful hints to protect your credit card, and of course, staying true to form, suggestions about how to use this plastic money smartly in dining situations:
- Make a copy of each of your cards: front and back. Keep these copies in your files so your credit card number and the life-saving 1-800# are all in the same place and easily retrievable as your brain is panicked, trying to remember the last time you used the plastic.
- Protect yourself from the electronic lifting of your card number by investing in a $6 Flip Case. Due to a tiny RFID electronic chip, Radio Frequency Identification, your card information can be stolen while the card is sitting in your pocket or purse! About 200 million credit cards now have this technology embedded into them. However, over the next 2-3 years, it is expected that credit card issuers will replace every single magnetic stripe credit and debit card with a new contactless smartcard.
- Sign the back of your card with a Sharpie pen, so it can’t be erased, or, write in the signature area ‘ask for ID’, so an alert cashier does, in fact verify that your cards name and your name matches.
- When paying for a meal, position the card at the top of the check presenter, sticking out, so staff knows the card is in there!
- Pay attention to a potential service charge when paying for a party greater than six guests. Often restaurants tack on a gratuity for large parties.
- When your card is returned to you, check to make sure it’s in fact your card, and not someone else’s frequent flyer Master Card that looks identical, but for the name.
- Tip your server in cash. Although things are changing, many restaurants charge the staff the credit card processing charges.
- For your expense account and tax record keeping: jot down notes right on the receipt. Record names of guests at the table, topics discussed, and follow thru expectations right after the meal. (you forget ½ of what you hear within 48 hours)
- If you are travelling: call your credit card company and inform them – so activity isn’t flagged as suspicious or unusual.