Amtrak expands wireless credit card processing

Amtrak passengers on every train that provides food and beverage services will soon be able to pay for onboard food and beverage purchases with the swipe of a credit card. Amtrak service attendants are using wireless electronic credit card processing terminals in trains from coast-to-coast. Following the successful launch of the terminals on Acela Express last year, the nationwide rollout is continuing on all trains that offer food and beverage services and is expected to be complete within a year.

The credit card processing terminals will be used for café car, dining car and at-seat cart services. Using the new devices, service attendants are now able to get instant authorizations from credit card companies. Previously, attendants needed to hand write ticket and passenger information on paper forms for credit card acceptance.

The processing terminals accept all major credit cards, and there are no minimum purchase requirements. For purchases under $25, no signature is needed and receipts are issued only when requested by the customer. Currently, Amtrak customers who use a credit card to pay for food and beverages in café cars spend an average of $10 per purchase—nearly twice as much as they purchased in the past.

During the successful launch on trains in the Northeast, use of the new electronic devices improved efficiency as most transactions were completed in less than 20 seconds.

“The positive reaction from customers on the initial launch is a good indicator of the success we expect as we expand the program nationwide,” said Emmett Fremaux, vice president of marketing and product management for Amtrak. “Using the credit card processing terminals will improve customer service by speeding transaction time and increasing the number of customers our attendants may assist.”


“Installation of the credit card processing terminals is a win-win for customers as well as our employees,” said Janet Langenderfer, Amtrak’s senior director of credit cards. “Especially during the busy dinner hour, the faster transaction times will result in faster service.”