1. When should hospitality businesses consider adding alternative payment options such as e-wallets for guests?
Payment alternatives should be consistent with the guest population being served. Baby Boomers tend to prefer the traditional ‘swipe’ method while younger populations will likely be looking for a contactless (NFC) experience for speed and convenience. Knowing the audience is an important when selecting the right payment alternative.
2. What have you observed with chip card transactions and contactless transactions now that the industry is moving away from magnetic stripe?
Transaction speed has been a common concern for new chip terminals. Even though the delay is measured in seconds, the perception among guests is that the chip card transaction takes much longer. And operators perceive it as keeping other guests waiting that much longer to be served. The delay in service can impact revenue where speed of service is important such as quick-serve dining environment. Some operators are opting to keep magnetic stripe to keep lines moving efficiently.
Contactless transactions speed up the guest’s perception of transaction time. With a tap of their card, phone, or watch, the guest doesn’t need to wait on the transaction completion before putting away their card or phone. Quick Chip or M/Chip provide a similar experience by allowing the guest to dip their card and remove it immediately. This creates the perception of quicker service and even allows the line to move more quickly.
3. What are some emerging technologies that will remove friction from the payment experience?
Contactless payments using mobile wallets such as Apple Pay™ reduce payment friction. New mobile payment options are emerging which change the guest interaction entirely. Emerging mobile applications will allow guests to skip the line by checking into their hotel and paying using their card on file. Guests can also pay for their fine dining meal at their convenience and depart without waiting for the hard copy check. These applications allow the guest to review their charges and make payment from their mobile device, however these card-not-present transactions can have additional fraud risk considerations.