SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Worries about credit-card fraud and misuse have prompted Martin's Super Markets here to change the way credit and debit transactions take place at the point of sale. Cashiers will now swipe customers' cards through the POS terminal, rather than the customers doing so.
Doug Baumgartner, director of operation services at Martin's, explained that for security reasons, Martin's is now turning the swiping devices around to face the cashiers, and is no longer allowing customers to swipe their own credit and debit cards. This change is taking place at all stores.
"We are in the process of changing our stores over to put the card back in the hands of the cashier. It's driven by the security aspect, especially in credit. If the customer is swiping his own card, it's very difficult for us to see the card and check the signatures," said Baumgartner.
Currently, at all 16 Martin's stores, credit/debit information gathered at the POS terminals is sent, on-line, to a third-party processing company. From there, the processing company sends Martin's payment information to the proper financial institutions.
In addition to the directional change at POS, Martin's is switching to a new credit/debit processing vendor. Martin's chose Concord Computing Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill., "primarily for dependability [reasons] and a little bit of cost,"said Baumgartner.
Baumgartner wouldn't reveal the name of Martin's present processing company, which it has used since it implemented electronic payment options three years ago, but he cited computer glitches that have made it very difficult to carry out transactions as a major reason for the change.
"It was dependability. They weren't up and communicating with our stores 100% of the time, or even 90% of the time," he explained.
"We did a lot of research and talking to current customers for someone we can count on," said Baumgartner.
The change to Concord is presently taking place at Martin's Mishawaka, Ind., store, and all 16 stores will be connected on-line to Concord by July, he said.
Electronic payment has allowed Martin's customers to use a credit card, debit card or Martin's preferred-customer card to pay for their groceries, rather than by check or cash.
"It's a necessity, we believe. It's good customer service, and we believe we have to be doing it," said Baumgartner.