What to Know About Restaurant Payments Security Trends

Restaurant industry sales topped $700 billion in 2015. The 3.8 percent increase from 2014 marked the sixth straight year sales have grown. As more diners choose to satisfy their hunger at restaurants, you have the opportunity to increase revenue by investing in payment methods that both maximize convenience and protect customers’ personal information.

Shift to EMV

In October 2015, the deadline officially passed for U.S. banks, retailers, restaurants and other merchants to adopt Europay-Mastercard-Visa (EMV) technology for point-of-sale (POS) transactions. While traditional magnetic stripe credit and debit cards use static data that can be compromised by fraudsters, EMV cards have embedded chips and create a unique number for each sales transaction – bolstering credit card security in the process. On top of protecting diners’ sensitive information, EMV technology also helps you avoid potential liability for credit card fraud.

Three out of five consumers indicate chip cards are an improvement over magnetic stripe cards, yet many restaurants and retailers have been slow to adopt EMV-enabled systems. In an effort to keep diners protected from fraud and avoid potential liability for using outdated POS systems, you should make the switch to EMV-enabled systems sooner rather than later.

In addition to adopting EMV technology, you can better protect the customer experience by continuing to take steps to avoid credit card fraud. This can be as simple as asking for identification before authorizing a credit card payment or setting a limit on the total dollar amount in gift cards a customer can purchase on one credit or debit card.

Mobile payments

Demand for new payment methods is growing and adding mobile payments can be easier than you think, as many POS terminals can now automatically accept mobile payments following the EMV switch outlined above. Given the increasingly mobile generation of consumers, mobile payments technology offers new channels for you to increase your customer base and revenue.

One-third of all adults and nearly half of 18- to 34-year-olds would use mobile or wireless devices to pay their tabs at full-service restaurants if they had the option. The same holds true for quick service restaurants, where nearly three in 10 adults – and four in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 – would pay for their meal with a mobile or wireless device if they could.

Restaurant owners across the country are taking notice of this growing demand for mobile payment methods. Approximately 50 percent of full service and quick service restaurant operators are planning to dedicate more budget toward consumer-facing technologies such as Wi-Fi and smartphone apps. This includes adding mobile ordering options for online ordering and delivery, such as a restaurant-branded mobile ordering app, or adding your restaurant to an online ordering and delivery platform.

While providing diners with more opportunities to pay with their smartphones helps you reach new customers and increase order volume from current customers, it’s also important to keep security top-of-mind. For example, your restaurant’s Wi-Fi network should be password protected. Train your staff to only share the Wi-Fi password with paying customers, and consider kicking your security up a notch by creating unique Wi-Fi passwords that have time limits to keep fraudsters from intercepting mobile transactions in your restaurant. For online ordering and delivery, work with a trusted platform or integrate a secure payment system into your restaurant’s mobile app.

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