The digital payments ecosystem is rapidly expanding and effects of a digital revolution are being felt in every corner of society.
While digital payments were on the rise in pre-pandemic years, driven by a growth in global contactless card usage and the introduction of mobile wallet technologies like Apple Pay, cash payments still made up a significant number of transactions in the UK - over 28% in 2019. It remains the second most widely used method of payment in this country, despite changes in spending behaviour during lockdown.
That said, the overall downward trend in the use of banknotes and coins - not just in the UK but across the globe - suggests that cash won’t be king for much longer. The decision by many businesses to stop accepting cash altogether during the height of the pandemic, over fears it risked transmission of the virus, has been one of the key catalysts in this cashless transformation.
In addition, the digital payments ecosystem is rapidly expanding and effects of a digital revolution are being felt in every corner of society, from the ubiquity of contactless card payments and the growth of NFC infrastructure, to a rise in blockchain transactions and other peer-to-peer payment types.
The restrictions of the pandemic required consumers to adapt the way they dined, precipitating changes in payment processes that the majority of the public have since wholeheartedly embraced. Benefits to efficiency, security, and satisfaction should be just a few of the reasons that cafés, bars, and restaurants alike must make a concerted effort in adapting to technological innovation.
The ability to order and pay from mobile, be it via an app or web-based platform, cuts out the middleman and streamlines the dining experience. Customers no longer have to wait for a staff member to bring the bill and take payment, as it can all be done from the palm of a hand. Waiters are freed up for other tasks, and customers avoid the rigmarole of finding their wallet and remembering their pin number.
The consolidation of payments in a single, digitised location offers significant benefits to the business after service, too. Reconciliation processes can be automated, saving time and money spent on labour.
In the often chaotic environment of the hospitality industry, mistakes are likely to be made. A distracted waiter might enter the incorrect payment amount or accidentally charge a customer twice, while cash left for a bill could easily be swiped from a table. Digital payments happen at the discretion of the customer, keeping fraudulent activity and simple errors to a minimum.
The adoption of digital payment methods in hospitality facilitates easier payment processes for a greater number of people, ultimately encouraging business growth. The public are accustomed to an online world of fast and convenient ecommerce, where companies boast a range of payment methods, so it’s important for the hospitality industry to evolve and stay relevant: where the consumer goes, the business must follow.