Tabbedout, the App for On-the-Go Drunks, is in 50 DFW Bars. But What About Security?

Categories: Food News

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Late last week, Kevin McKeand, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Tabbedout, called me, prompted not just by the a story published here two weeks ago but by an announcement: the mobile application that allows patrons to open and close tabs at bars and restaurants is now available at nearly 50 locations in and around Dallas.

I took the opportunity to talk through some of my concerns about the security on the application. Whenever credit card numbers start flying though the air on radio signals, I get nervous. And what happens if someone steals my phone and decides to go to a strip club?

So far Tabbedout doesn't work at any strip clubs (yet), but McKeand had some other ideas that bolster security for users of his app. First he says you should turn on the pass-code that locks your entire phone. That way if someone steals your device they wont be able to access any of your information -- sound advice for every mobile phone user.

Secondly, he said, Tabbedout has a password feature that you can turn on as well, so if someone gets past the first barrier they might be able to read the emails you sent to your mistress last night, but they wont be able to buy any drinks.

Hosting credit card information on the device (instead of on some server in a data center somewhere) yields another protection mechanism, though it's not protecting you directly. The thought is that if someone hacks your phone (and they will if they want to), they get one credit card number. If someone hacks a data center (it's been done in the past, too) they'd have access to the credit card data of every single Tabbedout user. Spreading those numbers around to each and every device reduces the risk that any one number will be compromised.

Does that make you feel better? If so, 50 locations in and around Dallas." target="_blank">tab away.

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8 comments
moiremusic
moiremusic

"Whenever credit card numbers start flying though the air on radio signals..."

Probably not radio signals.

Steve
Steve

"Vice President of Sales and Marketing"  - - rrrriiight.

Jeff
Jeff

I tried to use it at Bar Belmont last weekend and they weren't trained on it. Apparently I was the first to try to use it.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Stop with the old man paranoia. It's not as if the waiter or bartender taking your card off for a couple minutes (or longer if you open a tab) is inherently safe. At least hacking an app takes some effort versus copying card info.

TheRealDirtyP1
TheRealDirtyP1

Agreed. I'd feel much better having my info to send via device than having to hand over my card. The technology will be in place soon where you won't have to hand your card over but just can the QR code on your phone. Hell, Starbucks does that now for their cards, they just scan the code on your phone.I've been lucky enough to not get burned, yet, but at places where I hand my card over, I use a real credit card instead of my debit card so my account won't be drained before I'm none the wiser in case of fraud. In one case my cc company called me at dinner, apparently I haven't had any other $200 restaurant purchases(thanks Steve Fields!!!) so they blocked it but called me right away.

Mervis
Mervis

Comment of the day. Did a spit take.

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