Mobile NFC Payments Comes To Mickey D’s This Month

McDonald’s has set a Sept. 15 deadline to have new point-of-sale equipment installed and employees trained for a contactless payment system that uses near-field communication (NFC), according to Mobile Commerce Daily.

The deadline was specified in a memo sent to McDonald’s franchises this week. The Sept. 15 date means the fast-food restaurants would be ready less than a week after Apple is expected to announce NFC payment capabilities in a new iPhone model on Sept. 9.

The chain, which has 35,000 restaurants worldwide, has experimented with NFC payments in markets outside the U.S., including tests this spring in Austria. This summer McDonald’s also tested a non-NFC mobile ordering and payments apps at 22 restaurants in Georgia, letting customers skip store or drive-through lines by scanning a QR code at a restaurant.

Previous NFC-based mobile payment systems such as Google Wallet failed to generate significant use, in part because store associates weren’t trained in how to explain the contactless payment process to customers and encourage them to use it.

But McDonald’s inclusion of associate training in its deadline appears to mean the fast-food giant is making the new system a priority. NFC payments could link coupons to redemption and track marketing programs by measuring mobile proof of presence in a store, said Wilson Kerr, a business development executive at Boston-based Unbound Commerce, adding, “It means marketing can finally be tied empirically to in-store, incremental sales.”