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The Inevitability of Contactless Payments

Authored by: Dan Wallin (Vice President of Product Management)


The world is learning to live with the coronavirus illness, but while many consumers are returning to pre-pandemic behaviors and preferences, there’s one trend that’s clearly marked as an inevitable new normal: contactless payments.

Consumers are not shy about the direction they want their favorite restaurants to go. They believe contactless payments indicate cleanliness, convenience, and tech-savviness—and they communicate these increasingly strong preferences with their wallets.

Let’s explore how the contactless payment revolution is impacting restaurants, then make some predictions for 2022 and beyond based on the research.

First, What is Contactless Payment?

Contactless payments are made when customers purchase products digitally, without the physical interaction of cash or cards. In practice, it can take many forms.

For in-person transactions, this can happen through NFC-enabled or “tap to pay” compatible credit cards or via digital payment systems, like Apple Pay or Google Pay. Digital orders also fall within the realm of contactless payments, where customers make purchases on mobile apps or an online ordering system (on-premise or prepayment and pickup).

The Research Doesn’t Leave Much Room for Interpretation

According to the National Restaurant Association, 40% of restaurant operators added contactless payment methods in 2020 alone. Another recent Appetize study showed that 58.5% of Americans say they’re more likely to support restaurants that offer contactless payment and will continue to do so post-pandemic.

It’s the global 2020 Mastercard study that reveals the true potential of the technology, however, with a stunning 82% of consumers worldwide claiming a strong preference for contactless payments.

How to Ride the Growing Contactless Payment Wave

Few groups have mastered the contactless ordering and payment experience better than pizza restaurants, one of the industry segments we specialize in with HungerRush technology. Here’s what we’re seeing these restaurants do to reap the full rewards of this technology.

One, go contactless from start to finish. The full promise of contactless is realized when the entire customer experience is no-touch, from ordering to payment to food pickup/delivery. 

Two, look for contactless tipping functionality. Maximizing tips is an important part of caring for and retaining employees, but many POS providers do not yet have a way to offer contactless tipping. If you’re looking to adopt this technology, don’t overlook this must-have feature.

Three, make contactless work everywhere. Contactless is designed to create a wide range of possibilities for how customers pay. We’re finding restaurants that take this newfound flexibility to its natural end with seamless customer logins and payment options across all devices and channels are experiencing the biggest gains in customer satisfaction and retention.

Predictions for Contactless in 2022 and Beyond

Contactless technology is still in a period of rapid evolution as customers in the United States continue to discover its potential. As we help more than six thousand restaurants stay in-tune with this evolving trend, however, we are seeing some developments that seem inevitable: 

  • Increased adoption as awareness and trust for digital wallets increases
  • Cryptocurrency payments enabled at more restaurants
  • Fast one-click payment that works across all sales channels

The path forward is becoming clearer by the day as customers raise their expectations for seamless ordering and payment experiences. It’s now time for restaurants to respond—will you serve customers how they want to be served, or fall behind those who do?

Let’s take the restraints off your restaurant’s growth potential.

Visit to see how our ordering technology is payment method, location, device, and sales channel agnostic for a completely flexible customer experience.

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