Restaurants are going places with mobile payments.
Brought to you by Heartland Payment Systems
By Mike English
Mobile devices are nothing new. But the ways in which they’re being utilized continues to evolve every day. Gone are the days of simply using cell phones to make and receive phone calls and send text messages. Now they’re being employed as vehicles for marketing, banking and yes, even payments processing.
Businesses everywhere are turning their smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices into point of sale terminals. And, nowhere is this creating more excitement and growth than in the restaurant industry. With all of the new opportunities mobile devices afford, restaurateurs are taking their businesses to places they’ve never been—including outside their four walls.
Finding revenues in unexpected places
By adapting mobile devices as a way to process payments, restaurants are able to easily expand their capabilities and their payment acceptance options to include curbside pickup, offsite catering, carts and trucks, delivery service and more.
And within the confines of many restaurants, this new technology is increasing customer satisfaction, fraud security and restaurant efficiency by allowing servers to close checks and process transactions without physically taking credit cards and making separate trips to the POS terminals. Plus, with faster table turns and less wait time, customers are becoming increasingly happy. And we all know, happy customers are return customers.
Protecting your profits
In addition to helping increase total revenue by allowing you to take your business wherever your customers want you to be, this new technology also helps ensure you hold on to those profits by avoiding keyed transaction costs (card not present fees) that you may be paying now for phone delivery and catering orders. Plus, it can mitigate the risk of chargebacks due to the entry of invalid card numbers. But be aware of processing companies that charge special rates and fees for mobile payment transactions, as they can quickly eat into your bottom line.
What to look for in a mobile payment service provider:
While there are many mobile payment providers to choose from, not all of them are created equal. So the question becomes, how do you choose? Much the same way you make many business decisions. You do your homework and ask questions, questions and more questions. Below are some very important things to consider when looking for a mobile payment provider.
1. Refuse to pay “special” rates and fees for mobile payments.
Mobile payment transactions don’t cost processors any more than regular transactions – and often even cost them less, yet many providers charge additional monthly service and gateway fees, per transaction surcharges and even hidden fees that are creatively lumped under vague category titles. Make sure your provider is upfront and honest so you know exactly what you’re paying for.
2. Find a provider that offers Advance Encryption Standard (AES) readers.
These readers encrypt all transaction data and pass it on to the provider so sensitive information is never stored on your mobile device. It’s the highest standard available – don’t settle for less to protect your customers’ account information, and ultimately your business!
4. Ensure the application has a store and forward feature.
Make sure you don’t miss a sale just because you’re in an area where cell phone and wireless internet service is limited or nonexistent.
5. Verify that your provider has 24/7/365 voice authorization capability.
When all else fails, being able to call for an authorization anytime—even on weekends and holidays—could mean the difference between securing a deposit on a big event, or not.
6. Ask about combining your mobile and in-store payment accounts.
There’s no reason you should have a separate payments provider for mobile transactions. More accounting, more statements, less time to run your business. If your current payments processor can’t provide you with a cost effective mobile solution that meets all of your business needs, find one that can do it all.
Mobile payments are helping restaurants expand their offerings, increase revenues and provide better overall dining experiences by going where their customers are, and taking them where they want to be. Don’t get left behind.
Mike English works for Heartland Payment Systems, a payments processor that is changing the payment card industry landscape for more than 250,000 client locations nationwide. As the fifth largest payments processor in the United States. Heartland and its transaction processing services and products are exclusively endorsed by the National Restaurant Association, Council of State Restaurants and 45 state restaurant associations.