Credit card machine with extra feature worries customers


Mohamed Idris says banks need to come up with an announcement to make consumers aware of the problem.

Mohamed Idris says banks need to come up with an announcement to make consumers aware of the problem.

NEXT time you dine out and are planning to pay with your credit card, better look closely at the screen of the payment machine before keying in your personal identification number (PIN).

If you are not careful, you could end up paying a hefty tip.

One restaurant customer keyed in the PIN without looking at the screen.

“The cashier said the transaction didn’t go through and told me to key in the PIN again.

“It turns out that before the PIN screen, there was a screen that asked how much you wanted to tip.

“My PIN became the amount to tip and I ended up paying double the price of the meal,” the person said in a message circulating on social media.

Fortunately, the cashier refunded the money in cash but the person had to blur out two numbers printed out to keep the PIN secret.

The customer shared the experience to alert others to look at the screen display before keying in their PIN.

Lawyer Jonathan Looi, 28, said he almost ended up tipping a restaurant in the thousands when he keyed in his PIN and noticed that numbers were appearing instead of the usual asterisks.

“I was lucky I realised this before pressing the enter button,” said Looi.

“I think the credit card machine was programmed that way but the restaurant staff should have informed me of the feature.

“The cashier passed me the machine without saying anything so I thought it just required the usual procedure where we key in our PIN and press enter.”

He said he now made sure he looked at the screen displays before keying in his PIN after the incident more than two months ago.

“I feel people should be made aware of this as we tend not to pay attention to the machine,” he said.

An assistant manager at a steamboat restaurant in Penang said the restaurant had been facing this problem for the past two months since the bank upgraded their credit card payment machine.

“Recently, the bank changed to the new version of the machine and since then, we have had to press the enter button until we see the payment screen.

“Then we hand the machine to the customers to key in their PIN for payment.

“So far, we have not experienced a transaction where the wrong tip amount has gone through.

“We have briefed all our staff members to make sure they press the enter button to skip that feature,” the assistant manager said.

Consumers Association of Penang president S.M. Mohamed Idris said the relevant parties had to rectify this problem.

“Banks need to come up with an announcement to make consumers aware of this new problem,” he said.