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National Restaurant Association - Accepting mobile payments: four questions to consider

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Accepting mobile payments: four questions to consider

Technology evolves quickly, but how quickly we embrace it can vary. What initially may seem strange or complicated eventually becomes the norm. And paying for goods and services with new technologies is no different. 
 
Enter mobile payments, a broad arena that describes a range of technologies through which people initiate and accept transactions using a mobile device. These systems encompass both how consumers pay for goods and how merchants process transactions.
 
Forrester Research separates systems into two broad categories:
 
  • payment systems that use a mobile network to initiate or authorize a transaction
  • contactless systems that use a mobile phone in lieu of a traditional credit card.
As restaurateurs evaluate investing in a mobile payment system, here are four questions to consider. 
 

Is the technology secure?

 
In the era of the data breach, consumers are likely wary of relatively new forms of payment.  It is critical to the health of your restaurant business to make sure that you have taken precautions to keep transactions safe—no matter how you are accepting payment. 
 
Mobile payments, like other forms of card acceptance, are susceptible to hackers. Therefore, security risks are similar. 
 
Taking a multi-layered approach to security is your best bet—a combination of EMV, end-to-end encryption and tokenization
 

How complicated is it to accept mobile payments?

 
This varies. The requirements for hardware and software differ depending on the solution you choose for accepting payments—a mobile network to initiate or authorize a transaction or a contactless system that use a mobile phone like a credit card.
 
If you implement a mobile network, you'll need a mobile device (tablet or smartphone), a dongle (the plug-in hardware that allows you to swipe a card) and the appropriate app.  You’ll need to engage a payment processor to get your account up and running.
 
To accept contactless or Near Field Communication (NFC) payments, you need a point-of-sale system capable of processing a contactless payment transaction. This could mean that you’ll need to implement an NFC-compatible peripheral that connects to your existing POS system.
 

Is implementation expensive? 

Depending on your processing method, accepting mobile payments can be more economical than you may think. The first step is to partner with a payment processor with point-of-sale integrations expertise to help you make an informed decision. 
 
A popular way for businesses to accept mobile payments is with a mobile card reader and accompanying app. Most app and reader solutions will allow you to accept all major credit cards, as well as debit cards. Because this type of mobile payment processing doesn’t require much hardware, setting up a mobile merchant account can be inexpensive. 
 
Purchasing and implementing a contactless POS may require a larger investment. 
 

Is it worth upgrading now?

 
In-store mobile payments are relatively small today but a recent study reports that nearly twice as many consumers started using mobile payments in 2013 as they did in 2012. Though slow, the trend is catching on. 
 
Mobile payment rewards could be one of the driving factors for adoption. A study by Accenture found that 60 percent of consumers making mobile payments would do so more often if they received incentives such as instant coupons. Some consumers reported that they would be comfortable disclosing personal information to receive such rewards. Imagine the customer engagement you could create with this coveted information. 
 
Starbucks has found tremendous success in implementing this technology with value-adds.  With a loyal customer base, the coffee powerhouse processes more than 4.5 million mobile payments a week, up from 2 million a week at the end of 2012. 
 
Accepting mobile payments has its pros and cons. Understand where mobile payment technology is headed and how it will benefit your restaurant and your diners.
 

This content was provided by Heartland Payment Systems, the National Restaurant Association’s only endorsed provider of secure card processing, payroll and loyalty-marketing services.


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