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More restaurants see value in mobile payments

April 19, 2016

In the last year or so, the number of consumers and retailers alike who have seen the value inherent to use of mobile technology to complete purchases has risen sharply.

In the last year or so, the number of consumers and retailers alike who have seen the value inherent to the use of mobile technology to complete purchases has risen sharply. But one other sector that has largely moved to adopt these payment platforms during that time is restaurants, and many experts believe that is a trend that will continue for some time to come because of the ease, convenience, and security these systems provide.

For a while now, major U.S. restaurant chains have taken to putting new purchasing options in front of consumers, according to a report from Hospitality Technology. Many now offer consumers the ability to pay the bill using a credit or debit card right at their table with a wireless device, as a means of increasing the security of the transaction (servers no longer walk away with a person’s payment card) and convenience (customers can leave when they like, without waiting to get the check). This may be particularly crucial when it comes to getting mobile purchases set up, because it could further secure and speed up each transaction.

Mobile payments may soon become the norm at restaurants.Mobile payments may soon become the norm at restaurants.

Why is this important?
Consumer demand for safe and easy purchasing options is growing quickly, and seems to have been set back by the adoption of EMV payment technology – that is, the chip-and-PIN purchases that take several or more extra seconds to complete – being adopted by major merchants, the report said. One industry analyst told the site that consumers believe EMV provides “a horrible user experience” that will drive more people to mobile in the near future.

Indeed, CKE Restaurant Holdings, which operates major chains including Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, has already come around on mobile payments as an alternative and is moving quickly to implement it, the report said. With more than 3,300 locations across the country and overseas, that could really move the needle for adoption in the restaurant industry.

“NFC mobile gives you the security of an EMV transaction, but at a much faster speed,” Tom Lindblom, senior vice president of technology and CTO at CKE Restaurants, told the site. “With EMV, when you insert the card, they are rewriting the security transaction of the card so it takes time to process. They are not doing that with NFC. If we are talking about a drive-thru, that equates to more cars per hour and faster customer service times.”

Moving in the right direction
Again, mobile payments are far safer than traditional credit card use, and their security also surpasses that of EMV technology, the report said. Adding in the fact that they are typically faster than both types of card-based payments, it becomes easy to see why businesses and consumers alike may prefer to make the switch. The problem so far has largely been skepticism about security (which can be smoothed over) and the general lack of availability for these types of devices.

However, most experts agree widespread adoption is coming in the near future. Therefore, the more businesses can do to ensure that they’re ready to meet these evolving needs, the better off they and their customers will be.

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