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6 Tips for Protecting Your Business Credit Card When Paying for a Business Lunch

Why Taking a Client Out for Lunch Poses a Huge Risk to Your Business Credit Card

LunchFor as long as there have been businesses, there have been business lunches. But unfortunately, these days, taking a client out for a business lunch to your favorite restaurant can be a risky proposition, because restaurants are among the most common places where business credit card data gets stolen.

Why Are Restaurants so Risky for Business Credit Cards?

Restaurants are popular among credit card thieves because they offer the best possible setting for skimming the cards, and here is why: virtually every business lunch is paid for using a corporate credit card. The credit card is handed to the waiter or waitress when it comes time to settle the bill, and in most cases, it is taken away from table side to be run.

If the waiter or waitress is working for a credit card criminal, then they will swipe the card using a small magnetic card reader before they run the customer’s card for the restaurant. The information is stored until it is transferred to a new card that can be used to max out the corporate credit card account without the cardholder knowing about it until the bill arrives in the mail. By that time, the damage has been done.

In order to protect your business and its business credit rating, use these six tips for protecting your business credit card when paying for lunch at your favorite restaurant.

#1 – Call the Restaurant Before You Arrive

Call the restaurant and ask whether or not they use portable card swiping machines that can be used to process the transaction table side. If they do not, then find another restaurant. The moment you lose eye contact with your card, your risk level goes through the roof.

#2 – Keep Your Credit Card From View

Servers are not the only ones you have to worry about in a restaurant setting. In some cases, the person sitting at the table next to you might be waiting for you to flash your credit card so they can take a quick photo of it. To prevent this from happening, never leave your business credit card exposed for viewing.

#3 – Take a Photo of Your Dining Receipt

Snap off a quick photo of your dining receipt with your smartphone’s camera and keep it stored safely. This way, should you lose the original, you always have a backup available.

#4 – Check Your Credit Card Statement and Compare the Receipt Entries

When the credit card statement arrives in the mail, check it against your restaurant receipts to validate that the correct amount was charged. Also, look for any signs of unauthorized credit card use.

#5 – Set Up Mobile Alerts for Your Business Credit Card Account

Mobile alerts will instantly message your phone the moment your credit card is used. Having this feature on your account will help keep you informed about how, when, and where your business credit card is being used.

#6 – Consider Paying in Cash

Paying in cash might not look as impressive to your client and it will not help you accrue rewards points, but it can save you from experiencing a devastating credit card theft. At the end of the day, you have to determine if the risk is worth the reward, or if it is just a better idea to play it safe and keep your business credit card in your wallet.

Photo Credit: michael 7601, Flickr. 

Dave Donovan


Dave Donovan has written extensively for the web with a primary focus on articles targeting finance and business.