Do you own a bar or a restaurant with a bar and want to give your customers the option to open a bar tab for the night using their credit card? If so, here are some recommended procedures I have come up with after doing research for one of our customers. Some of these ideas and points came from other companies in the industry and what they have experienced with their own merchants.
The first step would be to run an authorization only transaction on the card, such as for $50. This checks to make sure the card is still valid and the funds are available. At the end of the night, you close the tab which captures the final purchase amount and this can be less or more than the original authorization amount. What you need to seriously consider is what does your business do to encourage customers to close their tab and sign the credit card receipt before leaving.
Listed below are some options you may want to consider. Not all options will work with every business. You will need to find the appropriate one for your customer base as some may not go over well.
- Hold on to their credit card and give it back after they close the tab. If they leave & you still have the credit card, call the card issuing bank using the number on the back and inform them that you have the cardholder’s credit card and to inform their customer. Ask them to come in, pickup their card & sign their receipt. If you do this, you may also want to ask for a drivers license and compare the signatures to ensure they are both legitimate.
- Have a key locker similar to valet parking. You ask for their keys and place them in safe place. You give them a ticket stub that references their keys. When they close their tab, they get their keys back.
- Do nothing and see how much your losses are and decide if it is worth it.
- Ask for their phone number, which you can call them if they leave without closing their tab. You may also want to ask for a driver licenses as well to verify legitimacy.
- Ask for their drivers license and hold on to that.
- A combination of any of the above.
I hope you find this information helpful. If you have any other ideas or tips, please leave your comments.