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Cashing out? What the evolution of new payment methods means for operators

By Zonal

- Last updated on GMT

Paying the bills: tech is advancing so you need to be able to accept different payment methods
Paying the bills: tech is advancing so you need to be able to accept different payment methods

Related tags Technology Finance Multi-site pub operators Pubco + head office

‘Cash or card?’ is far from a question of the past. However, with the desire for quick, convenient experiences high on the list of priorities for many customers visiting hospitality venues, cash is increasingly taking a back seat compared to digital payments.

This means operators will need to invest in the payment methods they offer if they are to meet their customers' expectations, thinking beyond cards to wearables and even ‘just walk out’ technology.

Work it with wearables and digital payments

Advances in technology and growing trends mean there are more methods available to consumers than ever before when it comes to settling the bill, with newer tech such as digital wallets and wearables gaining popularity amongst younger consumers in particular.

This generational shift towards more digital payments can be seen in the rise in popularity of digital wallets. In fact, in our most recent piece of research undertaken with CGA by NielsenIQ, nearly a quarter (24%) of respondents surveyed by us say they now frequently use mobile wallets like Apple or Google Pay while out, and nearly as many (18%) do this via payment apps provided by venues.

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This, in turn, has contributed to the rise of wearable payments, with 13% of consumers telling us they use a device like a smart watch every time or most times they pay a bill at a restaurant or pub. Operators should therefore look to promoting this method of payment where it is on offer, especially as such technology becomes more affordable and accessible for consumers in the coming years.

Future-gazing – what’s coming up?

​Pay-with-your-face’ is paving the way in recognition software, with nearly a third of respondents saying they find this appealing.​  Favourable options across other new technologies, includes  digital IDs at 33% and ‘invisible’ payments or just walk-out technology at 31%.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the numbers of 18 to 34-year-olds finding such tech appealing are at least twice as high as those in the 55+ bracket. The pace of innovation and – more crucially - adoption in this area is swift, however that means operators wanting to future proof their business need to keep up to date with payment technologies as they develop.

So, is this the end of cash?

Despite this openness to new payment tech, the days of notes and coins are far from over. In fact, recent reports have suggested cash may have a mini revival as people look to manage their money as the cost-of-living soars, according to research by the Post Office. Nonetheless, our research clearly demonstrates that cash is now used much less frequently in pubs and bars, with consumers telling us that they are withdrawing cash less often, with 69% indicating they take out cash less than weekly.

The key, as ever, then is giving consumers flexibility in payment options now and to ensure venues keep pace with new tech as it develops.

For more information on how Zonal’s systems can help streamline your business take a look at​.

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