Wireless credit card machines and wifi terminals have existed for many years. The industry types they have strongly served differ based on one’s geographic location. For Europe and Canada, these terminals have proven to be part of everyday life of a simple transaction in the hospitality world. The process is this: when a customer finishes their food or drink, the server comes to their table with the wireless credit card terminal and hands it to the customer. The customer is then in full control of the transaction from here on out.
In the United States, wireless and WIFI credit card terminals have had a different path in accepting payments. Typically, merchants who have used these terminals are on the go such as HVAC, Food Trucks, and trade show vendors. As for restaurants, the need or demand has never taken place. Until possibly now. With US card issuers providing EMV cards to consumers, there is an opportunity for wireless credit card machines to finally catch on with restaurants.
The Old School United States Way:
The issue that many restaurants are going to run into with the EMV cards is how they need to change their process. The current restaurant experience involves providing your card to the server and he/she runs an authorization for the amount, then brings back a copy of the receipt for the customer to write in a tip where the server goes back and adjusts the transaction by adding a tip on. EMV will not allow this process to happen!
When a merchant runs an EMV card, the tip is required immediately―talk about uncomfortable, right?
The major benefit of a restaurant implementing said terminals as part of how they do business is security. No longer will a stranger walk away with access to the customer’s bank account or credit card. When one steps away and thinks about it, how crazy is it that you just hand someone you have zero relationship with access to your financials, right?
This is eliminated by bringing these terminals into the hospitality environment. The customer never has to let go of their card. Rather they are handed the wireless credit card machine and insert or swipe their card and type in their tip amount. The terminal prints the receipt and they hand the terminal back to the server. The transaction is over and the ability for identity theft is eliminated.
What could be seen as a barrier is the the change of operations. Let’s face it. Change is hard for everyone―including businesses. Considerable time will need to spent initially training staff and first time customers of how a particular restaurant accepts the payment. Overall, a restaurant merchant utilizing wireless credit card machines will be able to make the EMV switch successfully, while providing its customers with a much needed level of security.
For restaurants, not looking to use a tablet approach, the wireless terminal may prove to be the best option. For businesses that are interested in exploring the option of wireless credit card terminals, we recommend the First Data FD410, Ingenico iWL255, or Verifone VX680.