By David Dorf on Jul 14, 2011
My favorite mobile payment app comes from a start-up in Austin (the best place to live when its not summer). Ever go to a bar or restaurant and have to wait forever for the check? Then once you get the check, you have to wait for them to take your credit card which kills another 10 minutes? (Those of you with Chip-and-PIN can skip that last step -- count your blessings.) Well, Tabbedout (I'm not crazy about the name) has a solution for you.
When you first sit down, use the free Tabbedout application on your iPhone or Android phone to located the establishment via GPS. Select it and a code is displayed that you show your
waiter barmaid server. That code syncs your phone and the POS so you can see any items added to your tab. When you're ready to leave, simply add a tip and checkout using a pre-configured credit card. No waiting. No paper. No mistakes.
The integration seems fairly simple, so multiple POS systems will work. The trick is exposing POS transactions in a secure manner since the connection between the phone and the POS is over the internet. The card number is actually encrypted and stored on your phone, requiring a passcode to access it. That way Tabbedout never sees it nor does any of the restaurant staff. Seems like a pretty secure approach to me.
This is another example of an everyday annoyance being solved in a way that benefits consumers and merchants. I hope it catches on quickly.