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How to accept card payments at your restaurant

7 August 2019 Product Information

We help you decide what equipment you need and what services to choose for taking card and phone payments in your restaurant

We live in an increasingly cashless society. According to The Telegraph, in 2007 61% of all payments were made by cash. By 2017 this had fallen to 34%. Furthermore, in 2018 The Guardian reported that the number of debit card transactions overtook the number of cash transactions in the UK for the first time with nearly two-thirds of us (63%) now making contactless payments. 

For restaurant owners, it means that taking payments by card is becoming increasingly important. If you run a restaurant and you don’t take card payments, chances are that many customers will simply go somewhere else that does. 

But what are the different payment options that are available to restaurant owners and just how much does it cost to accept payments by cards? These are just some of the questions we will look at in this article.


How do I choose a payment processor?

In order to handle debit and credit cards in your restaurant, first of all you will need to choose a payment processor service, such as the one Paymentsense offers. This enables your business to process transaction information between the merchant (the restaurant), the acquiring bank (the restaurant’s bank account) and the issuing bank (the customer’s bank account).


Most service providers offer multiple processing methods so you can accept cards in your restaurant as well an on your website if you offer a delivery service and dining service. In a bricks-and-mortar business, the payment processor should also be able to interface with your existing electronic point-of-sales system (ePOS) system if you have one. 


Several POS systems are available for restaurant owners which can be integrated with Payment Sense (see details here). The advantage of using a bespoke POS system is that it allows you to manage your restaurant’s tables more effectively, for example by displaying the table layout of your restaurant and the inventory available on a web tablet such as an iPad. 


How much does it cost to accept payments?

The price of processing card payments varies considerably. While your bank may be able to offer reasonable processing rates and it may be convenient to work with them, chances you are likely to get a better rate by choosing a company, such as Paymentsense, that specialises in card processing. 


Before calling a card processing company, it’s useful to have a clear indication of what services you will need and information such as expected monthly sales volume and average transaction value. The rate you are offered will depend on whether the business is established or brand new and will also depend on your credit card history. You will also be charged different rates depending on whether the cardholder is or isn’t present so it’s important to consider how much of your business is online (delivery based) compared to offline (in the restaurant).


If you already have a deal with a payment provider, you need to find out how much it will cost you to get out of the existing contract and switch to a new provider. You also need to find out how flexible the new provider will be if you need to switch at a later date. 


For example, do they offer month-to-month processing arrangements or will you be tied into a longer term contract? What’s more, if you want to start taking payments in a hurry, you need to ensure that your payment provider can get you up and running in a few days.


Paymentsense promises to get you a credit card terminal within three days and will also pay up to £3,000 of your exit fees from your current provider if you decide to make the switch. Plus you’ll get 24/7 support and next day repair/replacement if something goes wrong. 


What equipment do I need?

As mentioned earlier, many restaurants – especially larger establishments – already have their own ePOS systems in place. You therefore need to make sure that the payment processor is compatible with the ePOS you are using.  


Another factor is deciding how many card machines/terminals you need and what type you should choose for processing payments. For example, Paymentsense offers three types of terminals. These include a Countertop terminal for taking payments at the till and a Portable model if you want to take the card machine to your restaurant’s customers (this work via Bluetooth and WiFi and has a range of around 100m). 


Finally, a third Mobile option uses a cellular GPRS connection making it perfect for taking payments if, say, you set up a pop-up restaurant at an event or on a doorstep if you are delivering food to someone’s home. 


Can I process contactless payments?

In addition to accepting Chip and PIN transactions, the latest card machines also allow contactless payments via a credit/debit card or smartphone (Apple Pay and Android Pay compatible). All the customer has to do is present their card or card-enabled smartphone to the reader and the money will be taken automatically from their account, up to the maximum limit of £30.


How can I make it easier to process payments more accurately and smoothly?

Paymentsense offers innovative technology that not only makes bill sharing much easier but also reduces the risk of human error when processing payments via a card machine. Called Connect, this cloud-based solution provides data, such as the cost of a customer’s meal, directly from the ePOS system to the card reader. This means there isn’t any need to key in the price again as there is with some systems, thereby reducing the risk of human error. 


Using the Pay at Table feature on Paymentsense’s Connect solution, waiting staff are able to print the bill, split the bill and close the table all without having wasting time going back to the till. As a result, it’s estimated that companies can turn tables up to four times faster, helping to drive revenue and profit. 


While reports show that we are living in an increasingly cashless society, thankfully there are an increasing number of handy solutions that make both processing card and smartphone payments much cheaper and easier than ever before!

Why wait? Take card payments in just 3 days.