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New York bars adopt mobile payments service that lets customers send drinks to friends

Housetab

Twenty bars and restaurants in New York are using a new service that combines mobile payments with social networking, enabling customers to pay their tab, meet up and communicate with friends and send ‘Goodies’ like drinks and food to their contacts.

To use Housetab, customers download an app, register their details and link a credit or debit card. They can then check in at a participating location to have their picture appear on the venue’s iPad-based terminal, enabling servers to greet them. When they leave, they can request their check via the app or tap a ‘Get Up and Go’ option to have their bill automatically charged to their linked payment card.

The app provides customers with a range of social networking features. A drinking glass icon, for example, lets them send a Goodie to a friend. Users choose the person they wish to send the Goodie to and the location in which it can be redeemed. They can then pay for the gift with their linked payment card.

An inbox lets users see the Goodies that have been sent while Pulse provides a feed of activities within their network, including the venues friends have checked into. A chat option is also available.

“Our system is independent of the existing POS system,” Andrew Tauber, CEO of Housetab, explained to NFC World+. “The existing POS system still keeps track of all of the order process, so if you order a burger and a beer, that is getting tracked through the standard POS system. Ours is really the payment gateway because the card itself is just going through the phone-iPad connection.

“The only thing we have to do on our end is set up an account for them, so if I were talking to a merchant and they wanted it we could have them online in 20 to 30 minutes.”

“There are a couple of things out there that are on the mobile payment side in New York but there is very little traction across the board with them because there is no real true engagement other than speeding up the exit process for a consumer,” Tauber continued.

“That’s great, I think, but if you wrap around the whole platform a social community and a social network, we think it will be the driver to getting engagement in mobile payments and in the application itself. That will be the hook in getting people involved.

“So far, the feedback has been great, users really like it. It is taking the social network that has been so far associated to the digital and virtual world and bringing it back into the physical world so it is a social network but you can actually really meet up with people and send them Goodies; there is a tangible meaning here.”

Venues currently live with Housetab include Anotheroom, Automatic Slims, Bakehouse, Bayard’s Ale House, Bubble Lounge, Circa Tabac, Local West, Nevada Smiths, Pergola, Rogue & Canon, The Room, The Otheroom, The Royal, The Winslow, Windsor Gansevoort Park and Windsor, Park Luncheonette and the Surf Lodge.

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