By David Maisey, CEO of MultiPay Global Solutions (www.multipayglobalsolutions.com)
The past 18 months has been one of the hardest trading periods in living memory. Lockdowns, social distancing, and staff shortages have all combined to create a perfect storm of challenges for catering and hospitality businesses. In 2020 alone, nearly 10,000 licensed premises closed for good as the impact of the pandemic took its toll.While issues like staffing are set to continue for a while longer, help is at hand.
In October, for instance, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak announced as part of this Government’s 2021 Autumn Budget and Spending Review that the hospitality sector, along with the retail and entertainment industries, will be granted property and green investment relief.While these measures will be welcomed by many businesses, more can be done to help the hospitality sector rebuild with greater resilience.
Time to think about payments innovation
One industry that can help with the rebuilding process is the payment sector. For a long time, payment innovation in the hospitality industry has – rightly – focused on improving the customer experience.We saw some great examples of this at the start of the pandemic with payments integrated into mobile apps that allow customers to order at their table. Now, however, with the immediate challenges dealt with, it is time payment innovation tackled systemic issues such as cash flow management and reducing operating costs. Helping solve these historic challenges will not only support hospitality businesses recovering from the pandemic but also greatly increase their resistance to any future disruption.
SO,WHAT CANTHE PAYMENT INDUSTRY DO TO HELP? ENTER INSTANT PAYMENTS.
Simply put, instant payments are a way for consumers to pay businesses directly from bank account to bank account. In the process they bypass card providers and the fees they charge. As a result, instant payments offer the ability for UK businesses to save billions on card transactions and processing fees.As funds are available immediately in a company’s bank account, it also improves cash flow management as the usual waiting period for card payments to be processed is removed.
The good news doesn’t stop there either, as many existing Android payment terminals can already take instant payments.With just a quick software update they are ready to go. For the consumer, it’s just as easy. Instant payment can be done by a mobile app that reads a QR code generated by the merchant device. Once scanned this triggers the instant payment.
THE BENEFITS – CHEAPER, MORE SECURE, AND QUICKER
By removing and reducing interchange and acquiring fees that are charged by card providers, instant payments offer a huge reduction in the cost of accepting card and mobile payments. Consequently, each instant payment transaction is worth more to a business than the same payment made via a credit or debit card.This is capital that can then be used to fuel growth, hire more staff, or help with cash flow management without businesses needing to increase costs or cut back in other areas.
Security wise, instant payments also come with no added risks either.This is because security is already baked into mobile devices that allow payments through passcodes, facial recognition technology and biometrics. In addition, instant payments are governed by the same legislation as any other existing payment method, meaning they are just as safe.
What’s more, instant payments aren’t a new untested technology either. It is already in use in many countries across Europe including Denmark, France, and Italy, to name just a few as well as seeing massive adoption for E-commerce transactions.
To help the UK hospitality sector rebuild with added resilience then, the payment industry needs to come together and raise awareness of the business benefits of instant payments and accelerate deployments.With proven technology that can help solve challenges such as cash flow and reduce operating costs, instant payments are the innovation the hospitality sector needs.