U.S. pay at the table restaurants continue to refuse to comply with EMV, primarily because of the lack of perceived EMV risks related to restaurant chargebacks and terminal cost. One of the key concepts of EMV was that the customer would never let the payment card out of sight (to copy the PAN and four-digit identifier). Today when you dine at a Canadian or European pay at the table restaurant, the waiter brings an EMV compliant Wi-Fi terminal to the table and sets it in front of the customer.  The customer reviews the total, adds a tip, and then pays with a chip card or NFC mobile wallet on the phone. Why won’t the U.S. restaurants comply?  If EMV is not enough to convince U.S. pay at the table restaurants to invest in WI-FI terminals, might a solution that increases spend, frequency and profits be the tipping point?

Pay at the table restaurants certainly understand that 80% of their revenue comes from 20% of their customers, and as a result it is imperative to know and engage with their best customers. But loyalty at pay at the table restaurants has never caught on. While a loyalty identifier can be tracked at a payment counter, pay at the table does not have that convenience.  Loyalty is also hard for pay at the table because of the awkwardness of asking a patron to enroll and redeeming a reward in front of guests.

New terminal applications now enable WI-FI payment terminals to become “Loyalty Engagement Devices.” With a loyalty enabled terminal, the patron’s own payment card seamlessly and discreetly becomes the loyalty identifier. Here is how it works. When the WI-FI terminal is taken to the table, the patron pays as normal.  If the payment card is not recognized in the merchant’s loyalty program, the terminal screen automatically and discreetly prompts the patron to enroll with a mobile number and agree to terms. The patron never needs to download an App, carry another card, print off a reward or offer, or even embarrassingly mention the reward to the waiter. On future visits, the customer pays normally with the enrolled card, and points are automatically earned and rewards automatically redeemed. Loyalty status text messages are automatically sent, engaging the loyal patron even further.

With a modest investment in a WI-FI loyalty engagement terminal, pay at the table restaurants can now deliver an easy, automatic, discreet, and engaging card-linked loyalty program to their patrons. Once enrolled on the WI-FI terminal, loyalty just happens. And so, does EMV compliance.  A Twofer if you will.

We will be demoing vPromos’ vLoyalty Solution at Money 2020  at the Verifone booth next week.  Please come by and check it out. You can reach me at jmankoff@vpromos.com.

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