‘Invisible payment’ hitting the mainstream

The on-the-go food and drink market is being shaken up by high-speed payment solutions, with Barclaycard the latest to launch a new smartphone-based system.

Contactless and phone payments have already improved convenience at coffeeshop, café and other fast-service operators in recent years, reducing the need to carry and process cash. Now Barclaycard is trialling what it calls an ‘invisible payment’ system: a ‘Grab + Go’ app that lets people scan items with their smartphone cameras before paying for them with a final click. By cutting out the need to queue at checkouts, it says transactions are made easier for both customers and retailers.

For on-the-go operators, the long-term advantages of this and other payment innovations could include a reduction in the number of staff needed at tills. Brands that can make checkout faster and smoother are also more likely to generate repeat business and loyalty.

Barclaycard is currently trialling Grab + Go at its staff restaurant in London, with other locations in the UK and US to follow soon. Feedback from the pilot will be incorporated into a wider public rollout that will push high-tech payment solutions further into the mainstream.

Barclaycard says the move is in response to changing trends in the way people shop and eat. Usman Sheikh, its director of design and experimentation, said: “One of the key customer frustrations with shopping is the time spent queuing to pay for items they want to buy—especially when they are in a hurry. Grab+Go streamlines the shopping experience by removing the need to physically check out every time you want to buy something.”