By the owners of Lona Pintxos Bar and Barça Food & Wine
MasterCard and Visa's recent decision to phase out all signatures in Australia has a hidden victim - the hundreds of thousands of people working in the hospitality industry. The majority of Australians now pay with a credit card, using a signature, when out for dinner. The common practice we all have experienced is that the bill is brought out, a card is put down to pay, and after the card is run there is a specific line for the tip which is added to the total.
It is these tips which most hospitality workers rely on to supplement their wage and tipping is often an important factor in retaining talent in the industry. In addition, it is the promise of these tips that is a motivating factor in the quality of service we all expect.
With the move requiring the use of a PIN, a large proportion of these tips will invariably dry up. The only way to tip will be either to leave cash, or put an extra amount through the terminal. The latter will generally require the restaurant to ask if the customer would like to leave a tip - a thing that is taboo in Australian society. It means the customer has to proactively seek a way to tip, rather than being presented with one. Anyone experienced in hospitality would tell you that will lead to an inevitable result... Much less tipping.
This will not only hurt the hospitality industry and in particular those delivering the service, but will also lead to less revenue for the banks which supply the terminals and MasterCard and Visa themselves which all take a percentage of every dollar spent using credit.
On behalf of the industry, the owners of Lona Pintxos Bar and Barça Food & Wine request MasterCard and Visa to carefully consider the damage this could do to something Australians have come to love and expect - a hospitality industry known for the quality of its service.