Payment Tech: Dining-and-Dashing (Legally)

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Customers no longer have to wait to pay after polishing off that tasty Chicken Cordon Blue.

Payment technology (the technology surrounding a customer’s payment experience) is only adopted and used when it provides substantial value for the customer. Incremental improvements (like saving a customer ten seconds at checkout) are not enough to change behavior. That’s largely why NFC-based (“near field communications”) mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay have failed to gain traction.

There are, however, a few proven ways to add value to payment. One is reducing customer friction when they to pay. Consider Uber, which disrupted taxi service partly because the ride-share company moved payment to the background, eliminating the often painful end-of-ride transaction. Amazon Go’s “Just Walk Out” technology, meanwhile, has done away with customers’ biggest gripe when grocery shopping: Waiting in line to checkout and pay.

Often there’s even more friction paying in a restaurant because customers are beholden to their server’s attention, their other responsibilities and their haste or lack thereof. In the best case scenario, a server brings the check at the exact moment the table has finished eating, swiftly returns for the credit card and heads directly to the point-of-sale terminal to tender out.

Yet how often does that scenario happen? A recent study showed the average time customers typically must wait for the check — merely Step One in the payment process — is roughly ten minutes. In a world where customers can now simply hop from an Uber at their destination or never wait to pay at Amazon Go, shouldn’t it also be the case at restaurants?

It is, actually. Today, there’s technology that allows customers to pay by scanning or tapping — especially when dashing from here to there.

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