While you’re probably familiar with cash, credit and debit, there is a new form of payment that’s becoming more commonplace in restaurants. We’re talking about mobile payments. Here are some basic things you need to know about this entirely digital payment option:
1. It’s powered by NFC
We know this is a little technical, but its good to know how things work. NFC--or near field communication-- is the technology that enables mobile payments. It allows things like a phone and a payment terminal to communicate without physically touching.
2. Payment happens through a phone
In order for someone to make a mobile payment, they need to access a digital wallet on their phone. Most commonly facilitated by apps like Apple Pay, Google Pay, Samsung Pay (you get the picture), a user can create a digital wallet by imputing their credit or debit card information into the app where it is securely stored for later use.
FACT: The overall market for mobile payments in the United States grew by over 40% between 2018 and 2019—from $69.8 billion to $98.8 billion. One projection estimates that number will jump to over $130 billion this year.
TAKEAWAY: Mobile payments are not a techie fad like Google Glass (RIP)—they're a legitimate, growing force in payments. Given the ongoing concern over sanitation and minimizing contact between customers and staffers, mobile-payment capabilities can be a powerful solution for your restaurant.
3. You need a special reader to enable payments
In order to accept mobile payments, you need a reader that is made for NFC transactions. Regular swipe or chip insertions won’t work because the payment is entirely digital.
4. It's contactless
Because of NFC technology, all guests need to do to make a payment is hold their phone over a reader. No touching required! Implementing contactless payments at your restaurant is a great way to ensure the safety of your guests and staff, and give your business an edge during the pandemic.
5. It’s a more secure payment option
Digital wallets are actually way more secure than magnetic-stripe cards because they allow payment information to be tokenized, which basically means that all the payment information is scrambled so hard it’s unreadable. Scrambles are unique for each transaction to discourage fraud. Apps like Apple Pay also have an additional security block where payments can only be authorized by fingerprint or face ID confirmation.
6. Payments are super fast
Literally seconds. According to a 2016 report in the Wall Street Journal, the average credit-card chip payment takes about 13 seconds, but mobile payments clock in at around 6. And you'd best believe they've only gotten faster since then. Yeehaw.
7. It makes online ordering easier
With the rise of delivery apps, the majority of diners are placing online orders on their phones. If they have a digital wallet enabled, that payment information is already stored and can be seamlessly used as the payment method.
8. Restaurant owners can use them too
For personal or professional reasons, having mobile payments enabled on your phone might be a nice convenience in your busy day. Forget your wallet or need to buy something quick online? No worries--you can pay with your phone!