Over recent years, restaurants have been diversifying their payment methods. Apart from accepting cash and card payments, mobile payments have grown to be the next big thing. More restaurants are now accepting digital payments like Google pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay at their checkouts. 

What is Mobile Payment?

Mobile payment is a form of payment processing that allows users to use their smartphones as digital wallets. They can use their phones to store credit and debit cards, and reward cards as digital cards for paying through online apps or at physical cash registers. You do not need to have physical cards or cash to make payments.  Contactless Payments is now an option with some POS systems.

The approach is preferred because it is more secure compared to chip cards and magnetic stripes. It is also more convenient because all you need to carry is your phone instead of a wallet full of cards and cash. 

Why is Mobile Payment Important?

The major reason for the growth of mobile payments in restaurants is the increasing preference among customers. Most customers check whether a restaurant accepts mobile payment before choosing to buy from it. About 56% of modern-day customers are influenced by the ability to pay for food using mobile payments when choosing which restaurant to buy from. This has made it critical for restaurant owners and managers to include this essential feature in their day to day operations. 

Restaurant Choices based on Mobile Payment Option

Mobile payment options have proven to be an effective substitute for cash and plastic cards. Customers prefer this mode of payment because of its convenience and security. Instead of carrying cash, they can easily tap on their phones and pay for their orders within minutes. 

It is an easier and more convenient way of making payments since most customers usually have their phones with them. While they may opt to leave a bulky wallet of charge cards at home, most customers are always with their phones. Therefore, they always have access to their mobile wallets. 

Mobile restaurant payments are also the major drivers of online ordering. Whether a restaurant is using an in-house online ordering system or a marketplace like Grubhub, the process is made a success by mobile payments. Diners choose what they want and place their orders using an app that provides a mobile payment gateway at checkout. 

The mobile payment apps can be integrated directly into an existing restaurant POS system. This way, it allows customers to open, view orders, and pay directly from their mobile devices. In addition, the mobile payment can be integrated with a loyalty program to boost sales. Any discounts or offers can be applied directly during payment, making the whole process seamless and convenient. 

How Mobile Payment Works

A restaurant can implement several mobile payment options depending on the kind of customers it serves. At the center of mobile payments is the mobile point of sale (POS) system with payment processing capabilities. A mobile POS that comes with a terminal to accept payments allows the restaurant to easily process customer payments. 

The terminal is set up for an iPad, tablet, smartphone, or laptop for processing the payment. This is quite different from a standard POS system that comes with a cash register and a PIN pad for processing payments. To ensure that the mobile POS system accepts payments, it should come with Near-field communication (NFC) technology that allows customers to make payments with their apps. 

Mobile payment technology in a restaurant works via near-field communication. This is a type of communication that intercepts data from both NFC enabled cards and cards stored in mobile payment software. While NFC enabled cards are physical cards with an NFC chip that works without swiping, mobile-stored cards are in-built in smartphones with NFC technology. The concept behind this technology is that it works within a short distance of 1-4 inches to protect cases of hacking or data breach.

Users of mobile payments add their debit, credit, and reward card to their digital wallet app. At checkout or when they want to pay, they hold their phone up to an NFC enabled POS system. They are then prompted to unlock their phones/devices for the transaction to take place. This may include the use of a PIN, Touch ID for Apple Pay, security code, or Android’s fingerprint scanner. 

The transaction completes within 5 seconds, unlike the traditional chip card that takes about 10 seconds to process the details and for the transaction to be complete. By saving the extra time, busy servers can quickly move to the next customer and clear tables to the next group of guests. 

How Mobile Payment Works

Popular Mobile Payments Accepted by Restaurants

As mobile payments continue to become a norm for many customers, restaurants are integrating mobile payments from the most popular platforms. They include:

  • Apple Pay: This mobile payment method was introduced in 2014 to users of the iPhone 6 and has continued to offer users an easy way of making payment at the checkout line. The method is available across many stores and online platforms provide customers with an easy way of making payments with their phones. With the integration of this technology into the Apple Watch, more customers are using it as their preferred mode of payment. 
  • Android Pay: Following the success of Apple Pay, Android Pay was introduced in 2015 for Android phone users. The service also uses NFC payment technology and can be used by any android phone that runs 4.4 KitKat and higher. This free service can be used in online stores, retail stores, and for in-app purchases, making it an alternative to Apple Pay for Android users.
  • Samsung Pay: This service was also launched in 2015, providing more functionalities to Samsung users. With Galaxy S5 and S being equipped with magnetic source transmission (MST), this service can be used with the magnetic-swipe card reader. The technology emits a magnetic code similar to the magnetic stripe found at the back of a credit card. This allows users to use Samsung Pay directly with the card reader for additional functionality.

Concluding Remarks

Mobile payments for restaurants are slowly becoming a norm in this space. With technology advancing each day, the entry of easier ways of payments like Apple Watch is making it easier for customers to use this approach. Restaurants that accept mobile payments are set to reap big because of the convenience and security that this approach to payment offers.