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How To Accept Cashless Payments For Your Catering Business

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Last editedJune 20232 min read

All businesses want to receive the payments they are due in full, on time and with minimum effort. For most businesses, this means that cashless payments are the best option as they are safe, convenient and able to be automated. With that in mind, here is a straightforward guide to using cashless payments to charge your catering pay.

Options for charging your catering pay

Few businesses want to accept cheques as they are almost as inconvenient and insecure as cash. Likewise, few businesses are ready to accept cryptocurrency as a regular payment method. This leaves payment cards, bank debits, ewallets and payment apps. 

Choosing the right cashless payment system(s)

Any regulated payment system will use the highest standards of security. This means that, for practical purposes, businesses will make their choice based on fees, ease of use for them and acceptance amongst their customer base. 


In general, bank debits have the lowest fees. Card payments typically have fairly low fees for debit card payments but much higher ones for credit card payments. Ewallets and mobile apps both tend to have relatively high fees. The main reason for this is that they need to use other cashless payment systems. This means that, effectively, there are two sets of fees to pay.


If you want to take payments in the real world, you will need a card payment machine. Most regular card payment machines will also process payments from mobile apps.

If you’re only taking online payments, then you can usually do all your payment processing through software. Your software options can be broadly grouped into three categories.

First, there is vendor-provided software such as virtual payment terminals and online dashboards. These options tend to be fairly basic but that means that they are also simple to use. They can therefore be perfect for small catering businesses that just want an easy and affordable way to collect their catering pay.

Secondly, there are partner integrations. Most payment service providers will have at least some partnerships with complementary businesses such as accounting software businesses. These partnerships offer a seamless way to use a payment service provider’s system through another software package. This will typically be a software package that the business already uses (or intends to use anyway).

Thirdly, there are APIs (application programming interfaces). These allow merchants to connect directly to a payment service provider’s system. APIs tend to be appreciated by larger merchants who want to do their own customisations. Smaller merchants are likely to find them too complex to manage.

Acceptance amongst customers

The clear winners here are bank debits and payment cards. Almost all consumers and businesses will have a bank account that accepts bank debits. They will also generally have a debit card as well and probably at least one credit card. 

With that said, credit cards are facing stiff competition from buy-now-pay-later schemes such as Klarna. These generally accept bank debits and debit cards.

Even the biggest ewallets and payment apps trail far behind the two main options. In the case of payment apps, this isn’t necessarily a huge issue. The fact that payment apps can generally be processed by card payment machines means that they are an easy add-on. Supporting their acceptance may be appreciated by some of your customers, especially younger ones.

This argument, however, is not so compelling when it comes to ewallets. It’s now fairly easy for merchants to accept cards and bank debits directly. Merchants who do so may save themselves a lot of money without inconveniencing their customer base. It’s also worth noting that the introduction of PayTo has closed the gap between ewallets and bank debits for one-off payments.

Making the most of cashless payment systems

Once you start to use cashless payment systems to collect your catering pay, you’ll quickly learn that the advantages of cashless payment go beyond convenience and security. Using cashless payment systems gives you easy access to the raw data about your payments. 

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GoCardless is a global payments solution that helps you automate payment collection, cutting down on the amount of financial admin your team needs to deal with. Find out how GoCardless can help you with one-off or recurring payments.

Over 85,000 businesses use GoCardless to get paid on time. Learn more about how you can improve payment processing at your business today.

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