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QR Codes are Here to Stay

This payment trend is forecasted to stay even after the pandemic. It’s essential for restaurants and hotels to keep up with the QR code payments revolution as consumers resume traveling and dining out.
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According to PYMNTS and PayPal’s recent survey, more than one-third of consumers who prefer paying with QR codes won’t complete a purchase if that option isn’t available to them. The survey also found that consumers who prefer shopping with QR codes are among the most loyal users.

COVID-19 pushed consumers’ preferences towards digital payment methods like QR codes. This payment trend is forecasted to stay even after the pandemic, which is why it’s so essential for restaurants and hotels to keep up with the QR code payments revolution, especially as Americans eagerly start traveling and dining out again.

To welcome guests back with a seamless and contactless payments experience, restaurants and hotels must understand the challenges to overcome and best practices to consider when accepting QR code payments.

The Challenges of QR Code Payments 

Currently, QR code issuance lacks the grand organizing scheme that standards organizations like ANSI and ISO have implemented to bring control, reliability and chafe-free acceptance to the credit card experience. This reality is a challenge for merchants because it increases the integration costs of adding new service providers. The hospitality industry is asking for a standard to minimize the differences between providers to accept these payments moving forward.

A second challenge is the complexities posed by the “user-paying loop.” An application expects one response to its request in credit card payments. But for QR code payments, the payment service provider may decide to contact the account owner’s app to validate the payment request (via password validation or biometric entry). When this sequence initiates, the requesting application must enter into a multi-part response/response sequence before receiving a final answer. The long-held simplifying factor of “one request, one response” goes out the window. Though the service providers employ complex models to minimize the time they need to invoke this cadence, its presence as an occasional outcome makes handling and integrating a materially more complicated task than credit card acceptance.

What to Consider When Accepting QR Code Payments

The first thing restaurants and hotels need to ask themselves is, “What’s is required to bring in a new payment type, and will the ROI be worth it?”

Innovative, forward-thinking organizations come up with excellent solutions to accept payment types like QR codes and cryptocurrency to attract a specific clientele, especially as these payment methods rapidly become more mainstream. However, it’s still a matter of whether it’s worth the investment and how businesses can avoid getting left behind.

Second, restaurants and hotels should take a hard look at the point of sale and layout strategies to minimize the amount of work needed to ensure the POS can be integrated and accept QR code payments. POS applications are often not receptive to favoring one form of tender over another, which means QR code payment acceptance must fit within the confines of the temporal relationship of a credit or debit card. Organizations need to think about the inherent restrictions inside the POS and ensure there’s no delay in the payment acceptance experience – each second counts when serving guests as quickly as possible.

Additionally, restaurants and hotels should opt for solutions that make all payment experiences as similar as possible, whether through a QR code, credit card, or other tender types. Building this sense of familiarity creates less confusion for customers and staff alike and puts all the complexity and difference behind the scenes. By unifying the acceptance experience, simplifying the message flow and always sending one final response back to the POS, implementers can make QR code payments look like a “typical” payment to both the employee and guest.  

Serve Customers Well With QR Code Payments

QR codes have become mainstream during the pandemic, and consumers will be expecting this contactless payment option as they return to restaurants and hotels. To keep up with the QR rush, merchants will need to simplify integrating these emerging payment types into their current ecosystem with a payment orchestration solution. With the right tools, restaurants and hotels can worry less about accepting emerging payment types and focus more on providing an excellent guest experience.

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About the Author


For more than 30 years, Andy Orrock has created and been chief operator for innovative enterprise-class payment systems for Fortune 500 retailers. As COO of OLS Payments, Orrock oversees the strategic direction, development and operation of the processing systems that OLS provides. He’s been chief architect of a number of OLS services, holding a patent for a bridge service designed to maximize uptime for retailers.

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