Unsurprisingly, the world of technology never stands still. What was once considered innovative and beamed in from the future is soon seen as commonplace and quaint.
Nowhere is this better exemplified than in the world of touch and go card and mobile payments. The last 12 months has seen tap and go payments move from being a niche form of paying for services to mainstream acceptance.
What does this mean for your bar? Customers expect to be able to use pay and go technology, and this in turn increases spend – the average card spend in pubs is £25.97. The speed of the transaction will also cut down on queues, leading you to serve more people.
Customers expect to be able to use pay and go technology, and this in turn increases spend.”
However, it’s not only cards that customers are using to complete these purchases. Payments via mobile phones are on the rise, and will continue to increase, and in a clear indication of the sign of the times wearable forms of payment (watches, sunglasses and clothing) are also making inroads.
We’ve broken down these consumer trends, and analysed where this constantly changing sector is going.
The most common form of touch and go payment. Customers place their card (debit or credit) next to a sensor without the need to enter a PIN. The first contactless cards were actually introduced into the UK in 2008, but it’s in the last year that it’s gone mainstream.
According to the latest set of statistics (May 2016) from The UK Cards Association there are 89.9m contactless cards issued in the UK – an increase of 33.8 percent over the year. Total spend during May using contactless cards was £1,873.9m, an increase of 18.6 percent on the previous month and an incredible rise of 263.2 percent over the year. This amounted to 218m transactions during May (an increase of 16.2 percent on April and 194.2 percent over the year).
Bars and pubs saw contactless payments increase by a staggering 92 percent last autumn.”
One key reason for contactless’ sudden surge was increasing the maximum spend from £20 to £30 last September. From that point up to and including the festive period, bars and pubs saw contactless payments increase by a staggering 92 percent.
The card should always remain with the customer. They do the tapping. Never ask the customer for their card.
It’s not only cards that can complete contactless payments. In further signs that mobiles rule the world, the latest smartphones on the market can complete transactions under £30 too.
Apple Pay was the first to launch in the UK last summer, and this was followed by Android Pay in May. Samsung Payis expected to reach the UK before the end of the year. All work using a piece of tech called Near-Field Communication (NFC). Industry analysts expect spending via mobile payments to continue this rapid expansion in the next few years.
The latest trends in touch and go payments include wearable technology. Smartphones, watches, bands and even jackets are all items that use embedded payment details.
Barclaycard’s bPay has devised a number of ways to pay for goods outside of a card or phone. We spoke to Richard Atkinson, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Barclaycard, about these innovations, future developments and the implications for a cashless society.
“Cashless is definitely on the horizon but it’s not going to happen overnight.
At bPay, we think wearables and enhanced ways to pay will grow quite substantially over the next 5 years. The challenge we have, like all new things, is competing against the typical hype curve. It takes a long time to create a new category and that’s what we’re doing alongside some big players in the market.”
For the pub/bar sector, the best advice I can give is trust the terminal, it won’t lie to you”
And while some might be sceptical of accepting payment from technology embedded in a coat, the key is to trust your payment machine.
“For the pub/bar sector, the best advice I can give is trust the terminal, it won’t lie to you. It might seem odd that someone wants to pay for their lunchtime Panini or evening Margarita with their wrist or phone, but if the terminal connects and you hear the ping of success, you’re good to go. It’s impossible to keep abreast with the latest tech, just trust the tech you do know and you won’t go far wrong.”
And Atkinson believes that this proliferation of items housing payment technology and the convenience it provides will only increase in the future.
“Our research shows that not only are the UK and even worldwide population becoming more excited by alternative ways to pay, they’re also keen to embed payment into their everyday items. Even an analogue watch, their fitness tracker or maybe even their sunglasses? We’re helping to make this transformation possible with the new bPay loop which is a small contactless companion that slides onto your existing device to turn it into a way to pay.”
What it means for bars and pubs
This is a boon for customers and staff alike. Customers are likely to stay longer in a bar if service is speedy (particularly important when screening the big sport games when customers are loath to miss a second of the action) and you can serve more customers. A win-win, then.
The UK Cards Association points out that customers are not limited to spending only the cash they have in their wallet.
As less cash is involved this is more secure for your business and customer security.
You can get a better insight into your customers’ spending habits, helping you plan better and order stock more accurately.
It’s clear then that contactless (via card or even clothing, and who knows what is yet to happen down the line?) and mobile payments are here to stay. And while good old-fashioned cash isn’t going anywhere for the foreseeable future, customers’ expectations regarding paying for their drinks and food in a contactless manner will only increase. With the benefits numerous – including speedier service, the ability to serve more customers and increased spend – isn’t it time your bar stepped into the future?