As the restaurant industry continues to evolve with more catering, curbside order-taking and food delivery, owners want easier ways for their employees to accept card payments, regardless of the location of the sale.

That’s a potential match made in culinary heaven for Heartland Payment Systems Inc.

The Princeton, N.J.-based merchant processor plans to expand its Mobuyle mobile-payment software for use in restaurants, enabling employees to accept card payments from patrons in any setting, Heartland announced May 7 at the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago.

On May 8, Heartland announced the launch of SmartLink for Restaurants, a managed network service that provides secure, high-speed transport of card transaction data and back office information (see news release).

Heartland launched Mobuyle last August for retail merchants, marking its entry into mobile payments with software that enables merchants to accept payments through a card reader attached to a mobile phone (see story).

At that time, Heartland indicated it would further develop the software specific to other industries, including restaurants.

Heartland’s latest move with Mobuyle shows the processor intends to give its merchant clients what they have been seeking, Scott Strumello of Auriemma Consulting Group tells PaymentsSource.

“We hear it all of the time here [at Auriemma] that merchants are looking at mobile-pay options but aren’t always sure where to go to find it,” Strumello says.

Heartland is a significant player, and the company is in a good position to gain trust as one of the first processors to develop its own mobile-payment software, Strumello suggests.

“Offering Mobuyle to their clients shows that Heartland wants to send the message that the company has moved beyond its past security breach and is into new ventures that stress reliability and security,” Strumello adds.

Heartland experienced its massive breach in 2008. In March, a federal court rejected civil claims brought by five credit unions and one bank stemming from the event (see story).

Heartland merchants can download the free Mobuyle restaurant software application at Google Play and purchase a Mobuyle encrypting card reader from Heartland to attach to the audio jack of any Android smartphone or mobile device, the company stated in a press release.

In March, Heartland announced it was adding Apple Inc. devices for use with Mobuyle software (see story).  However, the Mobuyle restaurant press release mentions only Android devices for use with the new software.

The software produces full payment-terminal capabilities for the employee mobile devices for credit, debit and gift card acceptance, including the ability to accept and forward payment information if the mobile device has poor cellular or Wi-Fi signals at the time of a payment, the company stated.

Besides accepting traditional tableside payments, Mobuyle allows staff to swipe cards during curbside pickup or at a catered-event site. In addition, the restaurant owner can limit the higher costs of processing card-not-present transactions by equipping delivery personnel with Mobuyle software and hardware to accept payments at the door of a food delivery, Heartland stated.

When Heartland first unveiled Mobuyle last summer, the company stressed its pricing for transaction processing would remain similar to traditional processing. That policy remains for Mobuyle restaurant transactions, avoiding a higher flat fee for all mobile transactions that some other providers generally charge, the press release stated. Merchants pay Heartland between $65 and $85 for the card reader.

Heartland officials were not providing information about current rates, but last summer Steve Elefant, Heartland chief information officer, told PaymentsSource that Heartland’s pricing would take Durbin amendment rates into account for debit cards, while its credit card rates would be “well under 2%.”

Under the amendment, the Federal Reserve capped debit interchange on Oct. 1 (see story).  On May 1, the Fed said the average interchange rate for large issuers declined substantially to 24 cents per transactions from 43 cents in 2009 (see story).

The Mobuyle restaurant software enables merchants to include tips and their customers to sign receipts digitally before the receipt is printed or delivered via e-mail, Heartland noted.

The payment card never leaves the customer’s sight, and the Android mobile device never stores sensitive card data, the company stated.

“Restaurant merchants are finding mobile to be an outstanding alternative to traditional terminals, and Heartland is leading the charge in providing secure and comprehensive mobile-payment acceptance software,” Mike English, Heartland executive director of product development, stated in the press release.

Indeed, other processors and acquirers likely soon will begin developing their own mobile-payment software as competition heats up from such companies as Square Inc. and Intuit Inc. that also promote mobile-payment devices for merchants, Strumello contends.


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