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McDonald’s tests mobile payments app to accelerate mcommerce growth

August 21, 2012

Fast food giant McDonald’s is testing a new mobile payments service with PayPal that lets consumers order their favorite meals at participating restaurants in France.

According to McDonald’s the trial will take place in 30 restaurant locations in France. Through the service, consumers can order food either online or through the McDonald’s mobile app and checkout via PayPal. From there, consumers can pick up their meal from a separate line.

“We can confirm that McDonald’s France does accept PayPal as part of a test,” said Becca Hary, spokeswoman for McDonald’s, Oak Brook, IL.

Making strides
McDonald’s has more than 30,000 restaurants nationwide.

Therefore an initiative such as this is a great way for the company to further its place in mobile.

Although the fast food giant is in the early stages of having a concrete mobile payments service, the company is definitely on the right track.

Consumers are increasingly paying for goods and services via their mobile devices and giving them an option such as this is an effective way to not only increase sales, but drive more foot traffic.

Additionally, by featuring a separate line, McDonald’s is making the mobile ordering process more seamless and encouraging consumers to order their meals via their smartphones.

Partnering with PayPal is also a very smart move.

Consumers trust PayPal and using the service is a lot easier than having consumers enter their entire credit card information.

“PayPal is currently running a limited pilot program that allows customers at 30 McDonald’s locations in France to preorder and pay for their meal with PayPal via either the McDonald’s mobile app or a Web browser,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of communications and social media at PayPal.

“PayPal is committed to removing the friction points between retailers and consumers and in the last year has announced partnerships with more than 15 retailers including Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch and Jamba Juice to allow consumers to pay with PayPal at the point of sale.”

Heating up
The mobile commerce space is heating up.

The McDonald’s mobile payments initiative also points to PayPal’s ever growing effort to stay ahead of the game.

Currently, the company is competing against Square, who recently partnered with Starbucks to bring its mobile payments solution to the coffee giant’s 7,000 locations this fall.

PayPal also works with retail partners such as Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch, Advance Auto Parts, Aéropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, Guitar Center, Jamba Juice, JCPenney, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Nine West, Office Depot, Rooms To Go, Tiger Direct and Toys R Us.

McDonald’s is following in the footsteps of companies such as Burger King, Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts who have all implemented their own mobile payments systems.

In 2010, Starbucks Coffee unveiled the largest combined mobile payments and loyalty program in the United States.

With the Starbucks Card Mobile application for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch, users can check their balance, reload their card and view transactions (see story).

Earlier this year, Fast food giant Burger King launched a mobile payments pilot program that lets consumers pay for their meals using their mobile device.

Burger King partnered with Firethorn Mobile Inc. on the mobile initiative (see story).

Most recently, Dunkin’ Donuts accelerated its position in mobile commerce with a new iPhone and Android application that lets consumers pay for beverages, food and merchandise at the point-of-sale (see story).

“If McDonald’s has a similar use case to, say, a Starbucks, where smartphone toting clientele religiously visit the restaurant, then a fast-moving mobile payment method could improve the overall customer experience and loyalty,” said Drew Sievers, cofounder/CEO of mFoundry.

“The key is having the right customers, with the right phones, visiting frequently enough to see a benefit to downloading, installing, and using the McDonald’s/PayPal application,” he said.

“Also, don’t forget that PayPal is currently a source of funds for reloading the Starbucks mobile prepaid card.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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One Response to “McDonald’s tests mobile payments app to accelerate mcommerce growth”

  1. Christophe Spoerry Says:

    Interesting article.
    The pilot in France is actually live since March 2012.

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