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U.S. Way behind U.K. in Mobile Payments

Wendy's Mobile Payment

A writer for CNET, who is presumably a nerd, says that he found on a recent trip to the U.K. that mobile payments were much more ubiquitous there than on his home turf, the U.S., making them comfortable to use in comparison. While he doesn't make a point in his article of spending money at franchise locations or small businesses, he does point out the difficulties in mobile payments in America from the customer's point of view.

He writes about the awkwardness of mobile payments in the U.S.:

I pull out my phone. I tap it to the terminal. I'm told I can't use it, I have to use a credit card. I apologize, reach for my wallet. I feel like an idiot. This is me making payments in 2017.

I don't use my phone to pay for things all that much. Or, my watch. I use my credit card. This isn't because I don't trust my phone or my watch. It's because I know, at least half the time, that depending where I am they won't work. — Scott Stein, CNET

He contrasts it with the ease of use in the U.K.:

I was on vacation [in the U.K.] for two weeks with my family earlier this year. I didn't expect to use my watch to pay for things as much as I did, but that's what ended up happening. It started as an experiment: would it be easy to pay at Costa Coffee with my Apple Watch? Then I went to WHSmiths, a bookstore chain. And I realized the tapas restaurant accepted it. And the museum. And London's Underground. And, basically, everywhere I went. — Stein, CNET

But Ron Ruggless of Nation's Restaurant News writes that mobile payments are expanding in the lagging U.S., with QSRs leading the way:

“What made 2017 so impressive was that it felt more like a tipping point as mobile payments raced across the fast food industry,” said Glenn Fodor, head of strategic intelligence at Atlanta-based First Data Corp. “Almost all the major brands now offer services at scale: McDonald’s, Burger King, Quizno’s, Chick-fil-A, Krispy Kreme, Baskin-Robbins.”

…“We are seeing this everywhere, from pizza to coffee to burgers and beyond,” Fodor noted. “Pizza alone is one of the emerging and most cutting-edge categories out there with respect to digital. Papa John’s and Domino’s, for example, have more than half of their sales coming from digital – very impressive.” — Ron Ruggless, Nation's Restaurant News

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