How to Continue Accepting Payments During the COVID-19 Crisis

Juan Pablo Espinosa


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is changing the face of commerce as we know it - at least for the foreseeable future. Businesses and consumers are having to rethink how they go about what used to be normal daily activities, such as enjoying a night out at their favorite restaurant or bar.

Social distancing seems like a reasonable way to slow the spread of the virus, but this strategy presents serious challenges for businesses in the hospitality and entertainment industries. Take for example restaurants, bars, breweries, coffee shops, and the like. Some of these establishments have already locked their doors while others are being forced to cut occupancy in half and make sure that tables are at least six feet apart. Many are no longer offering dine-in service, while others are allowed to offer delivery, drive thru or curbside carryout service.

This offers a ray of hope to business owners who are trying to remain operational, but for many it represents a fundamental shift in how they do business. This begs the question, how can restaurants and other hospitality-based businesses continue to accept payments in the face of coronavirus?

Fortunately, the solution is easier and less expensive than you might think. In fact, there are several ways business owners can accept payments curbside, at the time of delivery, over the phone or online. Let's talk through a few different scenarios available through the Clearent Core Technology Series.

Accept Curbside Carryout & Delivery Payments

In the wake of the ”new normal” that COVID-19 is creating, many businesses are finding ways to serve customers without the need
for them to come inside, such as with curbside carryout service and delivery. When the customer picks up their order, it minimizes
personal interaction and helps the business owner avoid third-party delivery service fees, which can be as high as 30% of the menu price.

Take for instance mobile terminals, like the PAX D210 and A920. These terminals run on the latest security technology, have superior battery life and embedded contactless technology. There is also an option to communicate with a GPRS data plan, which means you can accept payments anywhere with AT&T cellular coverage and don't need a WiFi connection. These terminals make checking out on the go quick and easy.

Another way to accept curbside and delivery payments is with the Clearent Virtual Terminal Mobile app, which can be found in the App Store and on Google Play. To process the payment, the business owner logs into the app, enters the customer's credit card information and the transaction amount, all without the need for a separate mobile credit card reader.

Accept Payments Over the Phone

Businesses that take orders over the phone can also use the Clearent Virtual Terminal to process payments. An employee hand-keys the card number into the web-based Virtual Terminal, which also doubles as a back-office management tool. If the thought of hand-keying transactions makes you fearful you might see higher interchange rates, the Virtual Terminal helps mitigate higher processing fees by adding AVS (the cardholder's ZIP code) and CVV information (the last three digits on the back of the card) to card-not-present transactions.

The Clearent Virtual Terminal is powered by Clearent's Quest Payment Gateway, which securely captures, authorizes and moves sensitive information using a layered security approach so you can rest easy knowing transactions are fully protected.

The Clearent Virtual Terminal can also help you legally share your credit card processing fee with your customers through the Empower Program. Programs such as Cash Discounting and Surcharging result in real savings for your business.

Accept Payments Online

For businesses that want to accept payments online and send ”text to pay” links to their customers, Clearent Paylink is a great option. This simple web payment solution is an extension of the Clearent Virtual Terminal. Business owners enter the customer's phone number in the Virtual Terminal and request a payment. The consumer then receives a text message with a link that enables them to pay online. Merchants can also copy and paste a simple payment URL into an email, text or messaging platform, such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. Unlike a hosted payment page, there is no development work needed to offer customers a seamless, secure checkout experience.

Continuing to serve customers during these trying times is possible, you just might have to change your business model. By offering your customers more ways to make payments, they'll be able to continue to enjoy their favorite fare while you are doing your part to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The information provided in this communication does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Recipients of this communication should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter.