Zomato in partnership with Emirates NBD introduced cashless payments to its app in Dubai today. The new feature lets diners settle their bill without paying cash or physically swiping their cards at 120 participating restaurants.
The service works with any credit card introduced by Visa or MasterCard, and is currently available on the iOS version of the app.
The payment integration is done at the restaurant outlet on an iPad. Once the restaurant signs up with Zomato, they provide the merchant with the required hardware and software to enable them to accept cashless payments.
Here's how it works: The user uses the Zomato app to check-in at the restaurant by selecting a pre-fed credit card, and then informs the restaurant staff that he/she would be using Zomato Cashless to process the payment prior to placing the order. At the end of the meal, the restaurant automatically charges the user's credit card through the Cashless merchant app.
Pankaj Chaddah, Co-Founder and COO of Zomato, told the Huffington Post that their present focus is on product innovation, to make make the dining out experience as seamless as possible. The Cashless feature is intended to cut down on time spent whilst waiting for and paying a bill at the restaurant, it also frees the customer from carrying a wallet when eating out.
Cashless payments can be more secure than swiping the card at a restaurant, as there is a risk of the card being cloned. According to the FAQ, the service uses a Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) compliant vault service to securely store credit card details.
Chaddah told the Hindustan Times that they plan to introduce the feature in India this year once they see how it does in Dubai.
In an email to HuffPost India, he wrote that Zomato plans to expand this feature to other geographies soon, the next country on their roadmap would be New Zealand. "We do not plan on rolling this out in India as of now." he said.
At present, RBI regulations insist on two-step authentication process for all card transactions, but could be removed for smaller transactions. "If the OTP or password is removed then this question will become irrelevant and our international workflow will be applicable in India as well.” he said.