Digital Wallets Keeping Pubs in Full Flow

Wednesday, November 15, 2023 4 minute read

4 minute read

Interview with BOIPA Country Manager, Barry Gray. Published on Wednesday November 15th, 2023 in the Irish Pub Awards Supplement of the Irish Independent. We are proud sponsors of the Innovative Pub of the Year category.

With mobile payment usage increasing in popularity across all counties, publicans are feeling the benefits from quick, seamless payment experiences that keep their customers happy and bar spaces moving.

Recent statistics on payments released by the Central Bank reveal Irish consumers’ growing adoption of digital wallets as a payment option, with usage doubling over the first six months of 2023. This comes as no surprise to BOI Payment Acceptance’s (BOIPA) Country Manager, Barry Gray, who expects we’ll start seeing physical cards less as the convenience of mobile wallet payments becomes more established with both consumers and businesses.

“Irish customers’ preference for card over cash payments has been recognized for some time, with data showing the majority of shoppers prefer to use cards where possible. They’re opting for cards because they offer quick, hassle-free payments, and the ability to tap and go has played a huge part in that. Contactless technology has streamlined the payment experience, especially in busy environments, and this transition to digital wallet transactions reflects the evolution in frictionless payments.”

The overall volume of contactless payments rose by 17.6% year-on-year to 268.7 million in Q1 2023 hitting three million payments a day, according to the latest figures from Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI).

According to the Central Bank data, over 40% of all contactless payments in June were made through a mobile device. People like paying with their phone or smart watch particularly in pubs and restaurants because of their speed and ease. The appeal is being witnessed nationwide and the data shows mobile payments’ popularity is growing across all counties since January.

“Once shoppers get a feel for using the mobile wallet, they’re less likely to switch back to the physical card. It’s also highly secure, given the built-in security features on mobile devices – meaning there’s no contactless limits like you have on physical cards, where you have to enter your pin if it’s €50 or over.”

Given the high number of shoppers opting for mobile payments, it might sound surprising that a significant percentage of Irish businesses weren’t aware that mobile wallets had no limit. To Gray, that is an indication that businesses are still becoming accustomed to this new payment option.

“Results from our own business insights survey earlier this year revealed four in ten businesses were unaware that mobile wallets have no contactless limit. This may seem quite high, but it highlights that digital wallets are still a relatively new payment option. Usage and awareness are only going to go one way as more businesses and their customers begin to embrace this payment method.”

Business Benefits from Digital Payments

Digital payments are helping pub owners and their staff keep pace with customer expectations and payment behaviours. “Whether it’s cash, card or through a mobile device, customers expect to be able to pay their preferred way. Being equipped with the technology to meet this expectation has never been more important in supporting excellent customer service.”

“For staff, digital payments keep everything flowing in busy environments, with mobile terminals taking payment on the spot without having to go back to the register for change. The ability to integrate our terminals with the register saves staff from having to key the same payment twice. This also saves precious time, which is another benefit for a sector experiencing staff shortages.”

The advantages go beyond the point of sale, with the general trend in increased card over cash payments being positively received by most businesses.

“Businesses are beginning to tap into the advantages of card payments, which gives time-poor owners the freedom to focus on other tasks. Almost two in three BOIPA customers feel accepting card payments helps them run their business more efficiently with reduced bank runs, simplified administrative processes, fewer accountancy errors and increased security over handling cash. It’s making commerce easy and continued innovation will keep delivering enhanced services and operational efficiencies.”

BOIPA is the official payments partner to the Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association and offers preferential rates for their members.

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