September 5, 2023
Lauren Platero

Digital Payments: What Is a Digital Payment In Restaurants?

The ability to process transactions via digital payments is one of the most convenient solutions in the restaurant industry. Payment processing companies allow merchants and customers to make digital payments more now than ever before. With the rise of contactless payments and online ordering, there is little to no need for cash. In fact, some eateries don't even accept cash anymore! Every day, restaurants are turning to digital options. 

If you run a restaurant business or are a business owner elsewhere in the food service industry, you know consumers prefer digital payments. Plus, they make it easier for your staff. Thankfully, mobile payment technology makes all these processes a breeze. Read on to learn all about it.

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Digital Payments: Definition

Digital payments are a form of transactions that take place electronically. They utilize payment gateway providers (see: what is payment gateway), digital devices, data encryption, and other cloud computing functions. In fact, digital payments wouldn't be secure without all of these elements. That's why they're the go-to option.

If you're looking to speed up turnaround times, implement options for digital payments. Besides, the requirement to follow PCI protocols will keep all transactions secure. Not only is this essential for the business, for customers, too.

Many people tend to think that the recent pandemic caused a surge in popularity regarding digital payments. However, the introduction of smartphones and app integrations were the initial catalysts. There has just been a sudden acceleration in recent years.

Examples of Digital Payments

Payment processing can take on numerous forms. Here’s a list of the most common types of digital payments:

  • Credit and Debit Cards: When customers swipe or insert a card, a keypad will prompt them to follow instructions. In a couple of short minutes, the transaction will take place. 
  • Mobile Wallets: By syncing a bank account with a mobile phone, apps like Apple Pay and Google Pay can process payments. By scanning the phone at a payment terminal, the transaction is completely contact-free. 
  • Digital Bank Transfers: For things like payroll or vendor payment dues, you can move funds from one bank account to another. 
  • Digital Platforms: Sites and apps like BlueCart Pay, PayPal, Stripe, and Square make it easy for businesses to accept payments. The best part? There are in-store as well as eCommerce integrations. 
  • QR Codes: With a custom QR code, restaurants can present customers with a quick and easy way to pay the bill. Plus, this digital payment method can also display menu items for ordering purposes. 
  • Peer-to-Peer Apps: Mobile apps like Venmo, PayPal, and Cash App can be helpful for personal use or small businesses. By connecting a bank to a digital account, people can transfer funds instantly. 
  • Near Field Communication (NFC): As a fairly newer technology, NFC payments are 100% contactless. By bringing the card or barcode near the payment terminal, a scan will take place and the transaction will occur.

Now that you’re familiar with all the different types of digital payments, let’s discuss their importance in the restaurant space. Keep reading for all the details!

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Importance of Digital Payments In the Restaurant Industry

Ever question the importance of digital payments for restaurants and other food service establishments? As always, we're here to help! Check out the many factors and reasons below as to why you should prioritize restaurant payment technology and related tech solutions:

Digital Solutions Deliver Convenience

Instead of handling cash and change, digital payment methods make it much more convenient for both restaurants and customers. With just one click, tap, or swipe, a transaction can take place. 

Safety and Hygiene 

Contactless payments have been all the rage since the COVID-19 pandemic. Just think about the number of times that physical money circulates from one person to another. With digitized payments, that never has to be a concern. 

POS System Integrations

A restaurant POS platform can integrate with solutions to offer unique products, like a customer rewards program. As transactions enter the POS software, points and rewards are much more simple to manage. This idea applies to other integrations within restaurant point of sale systems, as well.

Online Ordering Apps

Digital payments and delivery apps go hand in hand. It would be unrealistic to offer food via delivery if the payment doesn't go through ahead of time. 

Quick Turnaround Times

Digital payment methods are fast and efficient. In a brick and mortar restaurant, this element can speed up table turnover rates. For online ordering, this simply speeds up the checkout process.

Leaving a Tip Is Easy

In many cases, whether people dine-in or order food online, people won't leave a tip if they don't have cash on them. Unfortunately, this is not proper dining etiquette, as it negatively impacts the staff. And with digital payment terminals, anyone can leave a tip on their card or mobile wallet.

Restaurant Data Stays Accurate

Miscalculations can take place when handling physical money. But with digital methods, businesses can feel confident that their financial data is always accurate. Plus, they'll have a clearer idea of which payment methods customers prefer. This feature also eliminates the risk of theft.

Grow the Customer Base

Many consumers may not want to try your business if you don't offer digital payment methods. However, some might not be able to at all if they don't have cash on them. It's also beneficial for those from foreign countries, as they might not have your country's currency on hand. So, implementing a diverse array of payment methods makes your restaurant inclusive to all. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Digital Payments 

In this day and age, it would probably be hard to find a restaurant that doesn’t accept digital payments. Secure data transmissions make it a safe and easy experience for both the customers and the merchants. Below, you’ll find a list of questions and answers regarding digital payments from a more general perspective. Read on if you’d like some additional information!

What Are Examples of Digital Payments?

Some of the most popular examples of digital payments include:

  • eCheck
  • Digital wallets 
  • Cryptocurrency 
  • Mobile bank transfers 
  • Wiring money between accounts

What Is the Most Popular Digital Payment Method?

The most popular methods of digital payments include mobile wallets and eChecks. These methods are especially popular in retail and eCommerce settings. However, methods like money wires and bank transfers have been tried and true options for many years.

What Are Different Types of Digital Payments?

Different types of digital payments include transactions via mobile wallets, transferring money electronically out of a bank account, and using a chip reader. Though there are many types of payment methods, most of them nowadays are digital.

How Do I Make a Digital Payment?

You can make a digital payment by using a device that is linked to your bank account. For instance, mobile wallets use smartphones that connect to a checking account. Meanwhile, some methods use a digital terminal, such as a payment gateway, in order to make an online purchase. 

What Is the Safest Digital Payment Method?

One of the safest methods of digital payment is known to be PayPal. The online payment processing platform ensures safe data transmissions. In turn, SSL technology is able to process seamless and secure transactions between the payers and payees.

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The Movement From Cash to Code

During the introduction of digital payments, it was unclear if they were going to be the safer option. But after a number of years of using cards, mobile wallets, and other methods of payment, it seems that digital is the way to go. Restaurants can specifically benefit from the use of digital payments. From the amount of foot traffic they receive to online ordering, there is a vast need for digital payment types.