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Should Your Restaurant Accept Mobile Payments?

Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
business.com Contributing Writer
Updated Feb 03, 2023

Mobile payments are a fast and easy way for restaurants to accept customer payments, but there are some concerns. Learn the pros and cons of accepting mobile payments.

For most businesses, the decision to accept mobile payments is an easy one. Mobile payments, like digital wallets, contactless payments and payment apps, are faster and more convenient for customers. 

But security concerns do exist regarding mobile payments, and some business owners may worry that it isn’t worth the risk. If you’re on the fence about accepting mobile payments at your restaurant, this article will give you some things to consider. 

Pros and cons of mobile payments in restaurants

Here are some of the biggest pros and cons of accepting mobile payments at your restaurant.

Pros

  • Fast and easy: Mobile payments are a fast and convenient way for customers to pay for their food. And it’s easier for the staff to process transactions and get customers in and out of the restaurant. 
  • Relatively secure: There is no foolproof payment system, but mobile payments are relatively secure. They tend to be more secure than credit card payments since mobile payments often require biometric authentication.
  • No wallet necessary: Although customers occasionally leave their wallet behind, it is far less common for them to leave their phone. This makes mobile payments a convenient option for both customers and restaurants.
  • Reward programs: Mobile payments and loyalty programs often go hand in hand. By accepting mobile payments, companies can not only offer mobile apps, but they can also send out coupons, promotions and reward points. This can boost sales and encourage customer loyalty.

Cons

  • Lack of privacy: One major downside of accepting mobile payments is that they are easier to track. Despite the fact that they are relatively secure, the mere fact that mobile payments are easier to track makes some customers more leery of using mobile payments out of the fear of potential hackers.
  • Not supported by all mobile phones: Another major con of accepting mobile payments is that not all mobile phones have this capacity. Therefore, some customers may become frustrated that they cannot use this method of payment and receive reward points.

Should your restaurant accept mobile payments?

If you’re not sure whether mobile payments is the way to go, here are a few things you can consider. 

Customer demographics

Mobile payment users are overwhelmingly Gen Z, millennials and Gen Xers. Younger users are quicker to adopt new technologies than older generations, and they tend to be more comfortable with things like mobile payments. If your restaurant caters to these demographics, then accepting mobile payments may be a good choice for your business. 

How to keep customer payments safe

Most customers are aware of how easily sensitive information can be compromised, so they’re more cautious than ever. While many mobile payment users are excited about the technology and incentives like rewards and discounts, they’re also concerned about safety.

Some mobile payments are using the near-field communication (NFC) chip technology, which offers a higher level of security because no card information is exchanged. This eliminates many fraud concerns and can put your customers more at ease.

FYIFYI: NFC payments have grown in popularity because they are contactless.

How you’ll adopt the technology

To begin accepting mobile payments, your restaurant needs an NFC system, which allows your reader and a customer’s mobile phone to communicate through touch. A token of data is transferred, and the payment is made. 

The NFC technology is somewhat costly compared to barcode or QR code payment processing, which you can set up through almost any point-of-sale system. Eventually, mobile payments will become the norm and more affordable, so adopting the technology early is a good idea.

TipTip: Need a service to collect payments for you? Check out our best credit card processing picks.

The best mobile credit card processors for restaurants

If you’re looking for a mobile credit card processor but aren’t sure where to start, here are four options you can consider:

  • Clover: When it comes to mobile payment processors, Clover can meet all of your hardware and software needs. The company’s hardware is top tier, and it offers competitive credit card processing rates. And Clover doesn’t charge per employee, so the software can grow with your business. Learn more in our Clover Credit Card Processing review.
  • Merchant One: Merchant One is a good option for businesses of all sizes, thanks to its affordable pricing and wide range of services. The software works on iOS and Android devices, and is flexible enough that small businesses can get the system up and running fairly quickly. Learn more in our Merchant One review.
  • Stax: Stax offers subscription-based pricing, so you’ll know what you’re going to pay for payment processing each month. You can use the software to offer a wide range of payment processing options to your customers. And if you invest in the highest package, Stax will automatically update a customer’s information when their credit card expires. Learn more in our review of Stax
  • National Processing: National Processing offers competitive interchange-plus pricing, and once your rate is locked in, the company guarantees it for the duration of your contract. Plus, National Processing is more willing to work with high-risk businesses. Learn more in our National Processing review.
Image Credit: Chainarong Prasertthai / Getty Images
Jamie Johnson
Jamie Johnson
business.com Contributing Writer
business.comb.
Jamie Johnson is a Kansas City-based freelance writer who writes about finance and business. She has also written for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Fox Business and Business Insider. Jamie has written about a variety of B2B topics like finance, business funding options and accounting. She also writes about how businesses can grow through effective social media and email marketing strategies.