McDonald’s Plays With Mobile Payments in Georgia

Adoption in Columbus is apparently slow

Over the past four months, McDonald’s has been testing mobile payments within a branded app in the Columbus, Ga., market after several years of experimenting with efforts in other pockets of the country.

A rep for McDonald’s confirmed that the brand is testing mobile payments in Georgia and is also implementing its coupon app at more than 2,000 U.S. locations.

According to a source at one of the participating Georgia locations, the mobile payment app tests began about four months ago. Posters, bags and cups are all being used to drive downloads of the iPhone and Android app. Via the app, consumers can view nutritional information and place an order that is funded by a credit or gift card.

It’s not clear if other locations are set up similarly, but one of the Georgia stores includes two curbside pick-up lanes and one indoor line that are sectioned off specifically for mobile orders. A QR code is then scanned on the collateral around a drive-thru, which serves as a check-in and triggers the restaurant to start making the meal.

The source also said that, over the past four months, a few of the chain’s regulars have tried paying through the app, but the uptick in payments made through a smartphone has not been significant.

McDonald's has been testing mobile payments in different markets worldwide for several years, including France and Thailand. The burger slinger has developed a number of different iPhone and Android apps to support these pilots.

Within the past year, those tests have expanded to the U.S. in the form of a branded coupon app—dubbed the McD app—in markets in California, Nevada and the Northeast. The brand has also experimented with mobile payments through a partnership with Isis (a joint venture between AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile) but these efforts relied on a third-party app that McDonald's does not own.

While convenience is one reason McDonald’s is making a big push into mobile, the company is also likely eyeing a bigger opportunity to recoup slipping sales and bring in some new foot traffic.

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