Mobile Wallet Basics for Restaurants
Your smartphone is again evolving in usefulness. At a point when you likely can’t imagine not having this device which serves as your phone, computer, planner, and social connection, it can now be your wallet. In the restaurant industry, this concept poses a new adventure for owners because as with any new technology, the increased appeal to customers creates a massive adoption of the latest fad and convenience. Your best bet is to become familiar with this concept and decide if you want to jump on the bandwagon to offer this new convenience to your customers.
What is a “mobile wallet”?
Termed “mobile wallet” or “digital wallet”, your smartphone, tablet, or smartwatch becomes the digital equivalent to that bulky wallet you carry around in your purse or back pocket. Instead of pulling out a credit card to make a purchase, you just pull out your smartphone and pay with it. This concept offers consumers two main benefits: convenience and security. These benefits, as explained in a great article called Contactless Payments are Here. Are You Ready? by Brant Schelhaas from Vantiv Integrated Payments, are detailed as follows:
- No longer digging through a purse or bulky wallet to find cash or a credit card. Just grab your smartphone for payment. Smartphones are more readily accessible these days than a card.
- More secure due to the fact that the technology uses encryption to help securely transmit data. Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that only authorized parties can read it.
- The customer never has to hand over a physical card therefore less likely to leave their card behind
- Many contactless payment methods offer advanced identification technologies, like fingerprint readers
- Payment networks that process contactless payments have the ability to detect attempts to use the same transaction information more than once
- Contactless payments do not require the cardholder’s name to be passed between the card and the terminal
- Many contactless payments do not use the customer’s actual account number when processing a payment
In addition to these customer benefits, Brant Schelhaas discusses the benefits to business owners.
- Due to the benefits that are offered to customers, there has been and will continue to be a large increase in customer use. For those businesses that accept this new technology that customers are embracing, they will have a competitive edge over those who do not.
- Contactless payments process faster than traditional payment methods. This means shorter lines and better customer service especially through peak times.
- Contactless payments make business owners less vulnerable since they do not transmit the customer’s card information to the POS system.
- Other benefits not listed in the article include:
- Less wear and tear on your equipment due to no contact
- Paper receipts are not required (unless requested) so there is less expense for you
- More focus on selling versus handling cash or a card which can lead to more unplanned purchases
- Less cash flow through your business
How do mobile wallets work?
A wallet begins with the download of a smartphone app that holds and stores debit, credit, and even loyalty card information for purchases in-store and through any virtual avenue. Some smartphones already come with a wallet for your convenience but other apps can be downloaded if you prefer to not use the one on your phone. Below is a chart listing and offering basic information about some, but not all, of the best mobile wallets for 2016 ranked from bestcompany.com, an online company who reports real, unbiased reviews based only on consumer ratings, opinions, and experiences. We have included the top seven of nineteen wallets listed in the article for your review in addition to some other apps on the list that are quite popular and frequently used:
Other popular apps that are frequently used:
Once the chosen app is downloaded, the next step is to input personal payment information into the app for future use. This can easily be done by following the instructions within the app paired with having access to your debit, credit, and/or loyalty card information as well as with your bank account number and routing number.
When loaded up with your personal information, your mobile wallet is ready to use. Yet, not all stores/restaurants accept contactless payment. Search on-line or in the app as to find out which establishments accept these types of payments. Or, ask ahead. You can also look for the contactless payment symbol within the store or restaurant as shown below.
To complete a mobile wallet transaction, the transaction requires two things: a smartphone and an industry standard point-of-sale terminal that uses Near-Field Communication (NFC), a wireless connectivity technology that enables devices to communicate. The smartphone just needs to be placed within 2-4 inches of the terminal and payment is completed. Most smartphones are now equipped with NFC technology yet not all stores and restaurants have the equipment for this communication. As time passes, this will most likely change. With the concept of mobile wallets on the rise, customers are looking for convenience and speed with payments therefore requiring stores and restaurants to conform to these new payment trends.
How can my restaurant start accepting payments with mobile wallets?
With mobile payments on the rise, restaurants are looking to take the steps needed to adopt this new technology. Here are some steps you can take to get the ball rolling:
Review your average sales traffic, customer base, and demographic area that you serve to determine if contactless payments are right for you.
Contact your payment provider to determine if your current point of sale terminal is already NFC/contactless payment-capable. If it is, ask your provider to enable it so that you can begin accepting contactless payments. If it is not capable, find out what you need to do and the cost involved in changing out your equipment so that you have the ability to offer contactless payments.
Once the decision is made to offer contactless payments, develop a schedule of implementation and train your employees on how to use the contactless payment equipment and systems. Demonstration is always a great way to train so a mock set up to this process is ideal. This would also be a great time to test the process to make sure that if any changes need made, they are done before offering it live.
When you are ready to offer contactless payments, it’s time to let your customers know! Send out an e-mail blast, communicate on all of your social media platforms, and order decals for the different payment methods that you are offering to put them up in your establishment’s windows.
These steps may sound simple but the process does take time and effort on your part to adopt. Your current payment provider will be your biggest asset in this transition so working with them to assist you during your transition is key.
Will you jump on the bandwagon?
Mobile technology has really changed our lives. Our phones have become more of a need than a desire because of the increased usefulness that it offers to our daily lives. Because of this, you rarely find anyone without it. When you add the option of using your phone as a wallet, an even closer attachment to a phone will be found and the benefits that it offers will guarantee it. As a restaurant owner, will you jump on the bandwagon and accept contactless payments in your restaurant? It’s a serious option to consider and one that offers benefits all around.