For as long as I've been eating there, one of my favorite places to drink and dine in San Francisco has used their system of bringing the credit card machine right to the table instead of taking your card to run it at the register. It made me a little uncomfortable the first time because you have to tell the server what total should be charged to your card, including tip, and while I have absolutely nothing to hide in terms of tipping it still felt odd at the time. Obviously, I got over it and have gone back time and time again.
What I hadn't thought about is the fact that this system of card swiping is more secure than the common alternative. Your card never leaves your sight, so you can be sure there's no room for error or theft of your card's details. The practice of paying table-side has been popular in Europe but it's taking time for American restaurants to make the transition. A newer handheld device has the ability to let the customer select a tip percentage and complete the transaction, receipt and all, without the help of a server. In that case, I think the whole question would be a no-brainer. But how do you feel about the model that's currently being used in restaurants like the one I love?