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March 21, 2018

Payments Sector goes Noodles

The world is seemingly becoming lazier as Wagamama becomes the latest chain restaurant to move to the digital payments world.

By CBR Staff Writer

Whether you need to rush back to work, escape an awkward date or are eagerly anticipating a night in after a romantic meal, waiting for the payments bill at a restaurant can be painful.

Those who’ve suffered any of the above will be pleased with today’s announcement by restaurant chain Wagamama that it has partnered with Mastercard to launch a new app, “wagamamago” that enables punters to effectively “eat and go”.

(App users can also use it to split a bill and order takeaway.)

The app integrates with the restaurant chain’s existing Oracle Hospitality restaurant management platform and uses Mastercard Labs’ Qkr! pay-at-table platform APIs – which Mastercard is opening up throughout the hospitality industry.

Oracle’s Strategy VP Laura Calin said: “Wagamamago’s full integration with the Oracle Hospitality platform also means that managers can be confident that checks are closed-off automatically and that they have an accurate real-time view of the restaurant.”

For the UK’s burgeoning payments sector, it’s a sign of things to come. As Worldpay’s Chief Product and Innovation Officer, UK and Europe, Shaun Puckrin puts it: “Today’s consumers increasingly expect the same frictionless service in the physical world that they get online.

“What’s interesting is its decision to become one of the first dining chains to send receipts via email, something which consumers are increasingly looking for. As 2018 progresses, we can expect to see more restaurants of all sizes begin to adopt similar tools to meet the demands and needs of their diners and inspire customer loyalty.”

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Wagamama’s cashless technology was developed with Mastercard after the restaurant’ chain’s CIO wanted a way to ease stress among diners waiting to pay at airport outlets.

Wagamama customer director Emma Woods said: “Customers are accustomed to one-click payments for online retailers and walk-out payments from Uber, but there hasn’t been an app offering all of these functions for restaurants, which is what we have now created.”

The UK is at the centre of an ongoing revolution in payments and digital banking, as Open Banking regulation drives the development of an ecosystem of payments and analytics apps powered by Open APIs and the EU’s Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) begins to  open up opportunities for new payment service providers.

(Thus far some 20 new firms have signed up: two new entrants providing payment initiation services (PIS) and account information services (AIS); 16 registered only to provide account information services; two existing non-bank payment service provider – an e-money institution and a payment institution – have got permission to offer either or both services, according to Head of Advisory at financial services experts FSCom, Alison Donnelly.

Earlier research by payments giant Worldpay, meanwhile, found that the number of in-store contactless transactions made via a mobile device totalled 126 million in 2017, with the amount spent topping £975 million –  a 328% YoY increase.

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