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A pay card is a notation system or device used in some nightclubs to indicate the value of the drinks or services (like coat check fees) consumed by or used by a patron. Pay cards are chip cards, punch cards, or a piece of paper card with several fields which servers mark with special pens, pencils, or clippers.
When patrons leaves the nightclub, they remit their pay card to a cashier, who decodes it, and the required payment is displayed on the checkout box. The pay card is most often the property of the nightclub and stays in the cashbox for future use. Patrons losing or damaging the paycard have to pay a maximum price indicated on the paycard.
Nightclubs use paycards because it facilitates payment; staff do not have to carry change, and servers do not have to walk about the restaurant with hundreds of dollars in cash. Some nightclub owners use paycard systems because they believe that patrons drink more than in clubs that do not use paycards.
There are some disadvantages for nightclubs that use paycards. There are often long queues at the exit, especially when the club closes and is crowded. Paycards can be damaged by foam parties. Some unsophisticated paycards can be manipulated by the patron.
Paycards give patrons an incentive to escape through emergency exits, so these, in such clubs, are safeguarded by alarms.