What is NFC and why should all restaurants accept contactless payments

The continuing trend for restaurants to accept contactless payments is set to continue well into 2021 and beyond. But it's not just due to the pandemic. Near-field communication (NFC) was already rapidly growing within the payments space before COVID-19 arrived on our shores.


So let's use this space to examine what NFC payments are and explain why they are so beneficial to restaurant businesses up and down the country.


What are NFC Payments? How Do They Work?

In short, NFC is a method of wireless data transfer that allows smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other smart devices to share data when in close proximity. NFC technology powers contactless payments via mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and contactless debit and credit cards.


While the technology is similar in many ways to Bluetooth, it differs because NFC doesn't require device discovery or manual syncing like Bluetooth. It also uses less power.


The use of NFC for payments is a growing trend. Analysts estimate that by 2023, 53% of all transactions run through a POS system will be contactless. By the end of the same year, NFC payments are projected to generate over 220 billion U.S. dollars in transaction value.


While the trend of using NFC for mobile payments was growing pre-pandemic, COVID-19 changed everything.


POSTRON POS device for NFC payment



COVID-19 Explodes Use of NFC Payments in Restaurants  


With many studies showing that the virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to three days, customers have been increasingly looking for ways to pay for their meals at restaurants without having to touch anything. Even when local and state regulations allowed customers to return to restaurants, concerns about passing around a wireless POS terminal still raised concerns.


Enter NFC payments. By merely hovering a mobile, tablet, or contactless bank card near a wireless payment terminal, customers can ensure that they are not touching any shared surfaces and make payments without risking their health.


Thus, with the pandemic continuing to drag on, despite ongoing vaccination efforts, it's vital that you invest irestaurant POS systems that can handle NFC payments for the safety of both your customers and your staff members.


But that's not the only reason you should adopt NFC technology into your restaurants.


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NFC Payments Offer Increased Speed and Convenience

As highlighted above, NFC payments were already beginning to take off before the pandemic. The reason was that this method of payment is the fastest and most convenient available today.


One of the biggest frustrations of restaurant diners is having to wait to pay at the end of the meal. But with an NFC-enabled restaurant POS system, your server doesn't have to go through the process of heading over to a central POS system, printing out their customer's check, bringing it over to the table, before returning to the countertop POS to swipe a card for payment.


Instead, they can head straight to the table with their handheld POS, take an NFC payment, and email the customer their receipt. Settling a restaurant check suddenly goes from a drawn-out and frustrating process to a mere matter of seconds. All they have to do is tap their phone or contactless bank cards, and that's it.  


Contactless Payments Are More Secure 


One of the biggest gripes about restaurant dining is the server taking the card away from the customer to swipe it through a payment terminal, usually out of their field of vision. While, in most instances, there aren't any issues, mistakes can happen. Worse, some servers sometimes fraudulently overcharge customers (albeit rare).


This customer concern is eliminated when using NFC for restaurant payments since payment is taken at the table. Better yet, the whole NFC payment ecosystem is more secure, especially when paying using mobile wallets.


This is because payment authorization is taken in the form of a biometric fingerprint scan rather than merely swiping a card's magnetic strip. While cards can be easily stolen, even if a phone is stolen, they cannot use it to make any NFC payments as they won't have the same fingerprint.


POSTRON handheld pos device for mobile ordering


Furthermore, with mobile wallets, a consumer's payment data is exposed only once, when the card information is initially entered into the mobile wallet. That information is then encrypted for each payment thereafter.


Each time a consumer taps their mobile wallet for payment at an NFC-enabled terminal, a "virtual payment token" is generated and sent from their phone to the payment device. This token is a one-time authorization and does not contain the card number. So even if someone hacked your restaurant POS system, they couldn't steal any card information, thus protecting your business from any payment data breaches, subsequent lawsuits, and regulatory fines.


Using NFC for Payments Can Transform the Restaurant Pickup Arm of Your Business


As mentioned, despite the arrival of vaccines, the pandemic continues. As a result, many customers don't want to dine indoors. They would prefer to order from their favorite restaurants, pick it up, and eat their desired meals from the comfort and safety of their own homes.


This can be tricky with old swipe cards, as customers have to come inside to make payment. However, with NFC-enabled handheld POS terminals, this is no longer the case. Customers can literally pay out of their vehicle's window at a safe distance from servers presenting them with a wireless terminal.  


Introducing NFC payments to the takeaway and curbside pickup arms of your business could see you dramatically increase efficiency and customer conveniences, which in turn will drive up revenues.


Embrace Contactless Payments for Your Restaurant and Reap the Rewards 


Whether you like it or not, the future of payments is here. By using NFC for mobile payments, there's no more waiting around for customers wanting to pay their bills; there's increased safety for both your staff and customers and you can quickly scale the pickup and takeaway side of your business.


The enormous improvements in customer convenience afforded by NFC payments mean that they will be here to stay long after the coronavirus is consigned to the history books.


The good news is that it's easy to implement with leading restaurant POS system providers such as POSTRON. With POSTRON handheld wireless POS devices, your servers can take payments anywhere on your premises over a stable Wi-Fi connection in a mere matter of seconds.


Better yet, with POSTRON's cloud-based POS system providing real-time insights into your business performance, inventory levels, and staffing hours, you don't even have to step foot out of your office to grow your restaurant empire.


So if you're looking to harness the potential of NFC payments today, don't hesitate to contact us to find out how we can make your journey to contactless payments so much easier!


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