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How hospitality businesses are making payments pain-free

The Insider’s Guide to catching payment niggles before they become critical concerns

Your customers won’t rave about a simple payment experience

They won’t congratulate you when they can pay for an “online exclusive” product at the till.
They won’t talk on social media about the slickness of the online checkout process.

But they will make a lot of noise about a bad experience

What’s more, they will complain and go elsewhere if the payment experience doesn’t meet their high standards.

And your conversion rates and sales will take a hit

‘Small’ payment niggles quickly spiral into major customer experience (CX) headaches. Headaches that have an impact on sales and a hospitality business’ ability to grow.

These payment niggles have a particularly big impact on hospitality businesses with ambitious growth targets

Our experience working with mid-market hospitality businesses suggests that the bigger your ambitions, the faster these customer experience payment niggles become major commercial inhibitors.

The good news is, growing hospitality businesses can easily upgrade their payment systems to boost CX

Implementing new payment functionality is often quicker and easier when done alongside other system upgrades, such as:

POS hardware or system upgrade

Website upgrade or new international website

New store launch

New payment method launch

Broader digital transformation project

Five CX payment issues that put consumers off booking again

and what hospitality businesses are doing about it

Often, paying the bill is the last thing customers do before they leave a pub, café or restaurant. So if they have to wait a long time to pay, it can have a serious impact on their overall experience.

Instead of remembering the food, drink, service or atmosphere, they will be left to dwell on that 30-minute wait at the end of it all when their children were kicking off and they really wanted to be somewhere else.

In a busy environment, with limited staff, it can be hard to get from table to table efficiently and quickly enough. Wagamamas found a surprisingly simple solution to this issue. Their staff carry a hand-held device in their pockets, which allows them to close the bill and take payments at the table, without going back and forth to the till.



Staff are able to process payments on the go – moving smoothly from customer to customer, providing a fast, premium service.

Sarah Fennell, Finance Manager at SSP Hats, explains why the way payment options are displayed can have a big impact on online sales:


Our experience is that different countries will have preferred payment channels. The level of security confidence around different payment types changes from country to country...


Once we had the local payment options available we saw an increase in confidence in our service, which led to a boost in both customer and order numbers. For example, in Germany we have raised the ordering customer numbers tenfold.”



Some businesses have been making their payment pages dynamic, using IP and browser language data to identify which region a user is from. Dynamic payment software can then automatically put the most familiar payment types at the top of the page and show the bill in the most relevant currency.

It’s only a small change, but for customers it takes away the feeling that they’re “shopping abroad” and increases their trust in the website.

A lot of businesses we talk to want their online checkout to be “like Amazon”. Meaning they want to offer customers one-click shopping. It’s convenient, removes the frustrations of mis-entering card details, and it’s fast becoming what consumers expect. In short, it increases the chances of a purchase being completed.

Tokenisation is the technology that makes one-click shopping possible. It creates a token for new transactions, protecting sensitive data by replacing it with an algorithmically generated number. This system also allows your customers to register their card on your website.

So when an existing customer returns to buy something online, they don’t have to enter their card details again. Many businesses choose to ask for CVC details because it offers better fraud protection.


The token system makes the online process so much easier for our customers. It gives them the option to pay without having to re-enter long card numbers, which takes time and is fiddly.”

Jane Pilkington, Internet Director, Aspecto

Avoca, a destination store in Ireland, has a huge number of international visitors. They offer dynamic currency conversion, so shoppers can instantly pay in their normal currency – making the whole experience that bit faster and easier.


The card reader automatically recognises that the card is from a bank based abroad and presents customers with a screen asking them if they want to do the transaction in their own currency. I think it’s something that customers really value.”

Maoliosa Connell, Marketing Manager, Avoca


Businesses can also offer visitors from outside the EU the option to print a VAT receipt, which they can use to claim cash back at customs. We call this system Tax Free Shopping.

Small tweaks to your payment page can make a big difference to online conversion. However, what works for one hospitality business won’t necessarily increase conversion for another. The important thing is to continually test and optimise. Here are a few areas we’ve found improve conversion:

  • Minimise the number of fields customers have to complete
  • Top-left-align field labels for readability
  • Choose field types that reduce the number of clicks required to complete the form
  • Don’t divide fields when asking for credit card numbers
  • Ensure your entire form can be navigated using the “tab” key
  • Check your form works on all major browsers and devices (a responsive layout doesn’t necessarily mean that it has been optimised for mobile)


Opayo’s new API has been built to make this kind of payments page customisation easy so you can create a really slick shopper experience. It works with whatever programming language your developers want to use (using REST principles).”

Sarah Alhawi, Software Developer, Opayo

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Slow payment systems used to frustrate customers at the end of meals

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Book a consultation with one of our experts

We’ll discuss your current payment niggles, the best solution for your business, and how it can be rolled out with minimal disruption.

Get in touch

Or call us on 01912 941 134