Tabbed Out a Model for Mobile Payments

Though previously covered at its launch at SXSW in march, I only recently became aware of an intriguing app called Tabbed Out, which offers mobile payments for restaurants and bars in a few cities. You enter one or more credit cards in the system and the app (iPhone, Android) generates a code that goes into the register. You don’t provide your card to the bartender or server. While there’s some “heavy lifting” involved in getting people to download the app and building out locations that will utilize it, Tabbed Out represents a way into the “mobile wallet” that people have been predicting for years. The consumer security benefits are obvious and, my guess is, restaurants and bars will like it because it will promote spending and creates more efficiency for the venue (faster checkout). Consumers pay 99 cents per transaction but sometimes fees are waived. If the company is successful at adding venues it may be a way for those venues to attract customers — not unlike restaurants that accept credit cards vs. those that don’t. There’s a directory of locations as part of the app too. The most important thing here is that this represents one viable way to facilitate mobile payments. Some simple standardization around code acceptance — I’m unfamiliar with how proprietary this is — would accelerate consumer and merchant adoption of such systems. Here’s the demo video: