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Zapper boosts at-the-table mobile payments via QR codes

Hundreds of independent restaurants and chains are enabling diners to scan a QR code printed on bills using a free mobile app without having to wait for a card terminal.

Restaurants using the MYPOS payment system can use the Zapper for Restaurants service within their venues. Diners can easily add a tip or split the bill as desired via scan, and the app captures customer details, allowing restaurants to build a community and provide targeted offers and promotions.

“There are a whole bunch of apps that have targeted this industry, but when you ask consumers about awareness of payment methods like this, the one that still tops the list is Starbucks’ payment app,” said Nikki Baird, managing partner at Retail Systems Research.

“It’s not an at-the-table process, but it could easily be adapted to one.

“I think the biggest challenge for the industry overall is uncertainty over the methods that consumers will be most willing to adopt – and that banks, card issuers, and payment terminal manufacturers are willing to support.”

Ms. Baird is not associated with MYPOS or Zapper, and commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Zapper, which was launched in October of last year, is being used at restaurants in Britain and elsewhere, inclusive of 500 merchants and restaurant chains using the system internationally with 40 million app downloads.

Conveniencing casual
At peak hours of service, time is of the essence and with the use of Zapper, customers can pay the bill at their own convenience without any reliance on calling wait staff to the table.

The app works in conjunction with a restaurant’s existing point-of-sale system and automatically adds a QR code to the bottom of a bill. Diners who have the app installed can then scan the code and pay for their bill from the app, electing to add a tip if they choose to do so. Customers can add personal and company bank cards to the app, allowing them to pay with either.

Once payment is made, the diner receives an e-mail receipt and the restaurant gets notified that the transaction has been approved.

This not only frees up staff time for maintaining high quality customer service but also delivers a unique customer experience. What is also notable is how the use of Zapper allows the merchant to utilize push notifications to streamline promotional activity and interact directly with their target audience, helping to ensure higher customer retention rates

Designed to build community, drive revenue and provide a superior customer experience, restaurants utilizing the platform benefit from a simplified payment process that frees up their staff enhancing the overall quality of service in the restaurant.


The company has a number of solutions to integrate its platform with existing point-of-sale systems, and can be used in anything from the taxi industry to e-commerce.

Practical applications
Recent research finds that it can take more than ten minutes for a party to pay for food at the end of a meal. For groups bigger than six, each diner adds another 90 seconds to the transaction.

British mobile payment app Flypay, claims to cut that time down to a minute, and like MYPOS, integrates with restaurants’ existing payment systems. Flypay allows customers to pay with their phones by downloading an app and scanning a QR code on their table, or waving their handset over an NFC tag.

At the same time, Cover, a similar payments solutions app allows customers at more than 100 restaurants in New York and San Francisco to pay for their bill using Bluetooth wireless technology. Cover recognizes when a diner enters a participating restaurant, and connected to a pre-registered credit or debit card, the app allows diners to add a tip, split their bill, and pay for their food without waiting.

Swipely, another payment service, distinguishes itself from the competition by providing restaurants—which make up around three-quarters of Swipely’s business—with in-depth analytics. It can tell participating restaurants which dish is the most popular, or which waiter’s methods are the most conducive to sales.

Nearly $30m in funding has been raised collectively by these three start-ups.

“If anyone is going to crack mobile payments, it would not surprise me that the solution comes out of the restaurant space, particularly the family dining kind of space where the worst part of the experience for the consumer is waiting to pay when the meal is over,” Ms. Baird said. “If payment can be taken out of the server’s hands, it saves time and also speeds table turnover.”

“QR codes haven’t necessarily achieved their potential, and I think double-authentication or harder authentication methods will eventually win the day – something that uses NFC or even Apple’s fingerprint authentication, in some combination with text message  or in-app confirmation of purchases,” she said.

Final Take
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York