Tipping Could Get Weird Under The New Credit Card System

If you've received a new credit or debit card lately, you may have noticed a microchip embedded in it — a system designed to prevent fraud that's just being introduced in the U.S. This not-so-new European model has made its way Stateside, with implications for both consumers and retailers.

Since October 1, according to Quartz, any merchants who have yet to adopt the chip technology will be held accountable for fraud in their stores. According to Quartz, banks used to be liable for fraudulent transactions; that will continue for cases in which a chip-enabled card was used. Of course, not all retailers, or even consumers, have received or are using their chip readers and chip cards.

In restaurants, the system requires servers to bring a portable card reader to customers who then sign or enter a PIN, pay and tip in front of the server. Both MasterCard and American Express suggest that merchants "add the tipping process to the beginning of the transaction" so the server can examine your every move. Quartz reports that this could be the basis of some awkward interactions, but the concept has already been introduced to us via Square.

Awkward encounters and possible dirty looks aside, the chip cards bring the topic of tipping to the watercooler once again. But how much value does it hold? Some restaurants have gone the controversial route of not accepting tips, and whole cities are banning the practice altogether. How long before Americans reach the, um, tipping point and adopt the European tradition of leaving no gratuity?