Instant Payments Emerge as Balance Sheet Boost for Independent Restaurants

Small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in the restaurant segment now use instant payments more than other payment methods. PYMNTS Intelligence finds that 74% of businesses surveyed sent instant payments in the last year. Moreover, 40% identify an instant option as their most used form of payment.74%: Share of restaurant SMBs that used instant payments in the last year

Among instant methods, restaurant SMBs most widely use push to debit cards, with 41% sending payments this way in the last year, with PayPal next at 40%. Traditional payment methods, including check, credit card and automated clearing house (ACH) transfer, remain somewhat more popular for sending payments, however.

These are just some of the findings detailed in “Small Business Real-Time Payments Barometer: Restaurants Edition,” a PYMNTS Intelligence and The Clearing House collaboration. This edition examines the use of instant payments among restaurant SMBs, including key factors behind their preferences. It draws on insights from a survey of 614 restaurants generating $10 million or less in annual revenue. The survey was conducted from Jan. 31 to March 15.

Other key findings from the report include:70%: Share of restaurant SMBs that sent instant payments citing ease and convenience as a primary reason

Restaurants that primarily bank with local financial institutions (FIs) use instant options.

The type of FI a restaurant SMB primarily banks with is an important driver for instant payment use. It also influences which payment methods it uses most frequently. About 54% of restaurant SMBs cite a local bank or credit union as their primary bank. This group is much more likely to name an instant option as their most used method, at 47%, compared to their counterparts that primarily use regional banks, at 28%.

Restaurant SMBs that use instant account-to-account payments have healthier balance sheets.

Sixty-eight percent of restaurant SMBs that cite an instant method as their most-used payment type say their balance sheet is very or extremely healthy, compared to 58% of other respondents.90%: Share of restaurant SMBs that sent instant payments and are highly satisfied with their experience

Instant bank account-to-account methods have the strongest effect: 76% of restaurant SMBs that name this as their go-to method have very or extremely healthy balance sheets. This share is far above the 63% among those that prefer PayPal or push to debit card.

Speed and ease and convenience rank as the top benefits for restaurants that use instant payments.

Seven in 10 restaurant SMB respondents that use instant payments cite ease and convenience as a key benefit. In fact, 24% name this as the most important factor in their choice of payment method. This highlights one way that these faster payments deliver value beyond speed.

Instant payments have become an important part of doing business in the restaurant industry. Download the report to learn how restaurant SMBs use these payments, including the benefits and key factors influencing this preference.