It's Credit Card PIN Day In Australia, But You Still Have Time To Deal With It

Hellenic Republic in Kew. Source: supplied.

While there’s been concern that today, August 1, is the love child of Y2K and Armageddon for small business because PIN-only credit cards kick off, Business Insider has found the hospitality industry is relaxed and ready for the change.

Frank Roberts, group restaurant manager for Merivale, which owns Sydney hotels such as establishment, Ivy, Hotel CBD, Slip Inn, Excelsior, The Beresford and most recently, Coogee Pavilion said they were very well prepared and implemented most things in advance.

“Despite some concerns, everything seems to be running far more smoothly than we anticipated. Guests have adjusted, tips are the same and thankfully people seem to split bills less, as this can be very time consuming,” he said.

Most importantly, some of the concern is a misunderstanding, as Merivale’s chief financial officer, David Mead, points out.

Because business has another 10 weeks to adjust.

“Contrary to all the publicity, 1 August is only the date it “begins” to come into effect. It is not a drop-dead date,” he said.

Sally Galletto from Lucio’s agrees. “The roll out period to for a pin only scenario extends to October 18. I know that Harris Farm has a sign at their registers saying pin or cash only for all transactions as of August 1 – and I have been told Coles does too. I can only assume this is their new policy. It is not the law.

She points out that overseas cardholders are allowed to sign indefinitely, and the restaurant can still take card numbers over the phone and input them manually.

Lauren Calleja from Melbourne’s Made Establishment, which runs the George Calombaris restaurants The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic, said implementation had already begun and gone smoothly, and how guests paid – at the counter or table – was up to them.

“We can do either option. At The Press Club we will most certainly be taking the machine to the table,” she said.

All the restaurateurs Business Insider spoke to said it shouldn’t require more staff or additional costs. Galletto that while the cost of the wireless unit to run the system has doubled, it has freed up a previously used telephone line.

But are staff worried they’ll be missing out on tips from now on?

Calleja says tips “are a bonus for our staff, no one relies on them” while Galletto says that if a customer wants to tip “they will make sure that they do”. Perry said with “a line in there prompting I think it will be fine”.

Sally Galletto says her main concern about paying is the lack of discretion for diners and the potential to interrupt the floor of the table while a waiter hovers to settle the bill.

“Guests are either inconvenienced by having to leave the table to pay, so leave the table early while guests are still sitting there, or pay at exit with guests waiting in tow, or, have an ugly machine presented to them in front of their guests. There is nothing discreet about any of these options,” she said.

Neil Perry from Rockpool agrees: “I have spent 39 years of my life trying to put the romance into restaurants, presenting a card machine at the table takes that right away.”

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