November 9, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka
It’s a busy Friday night at your local watering hole, and you don’t want to constantly reach for your wallet every time you get a drink. You also may want to avoid wading through the crowded bar area to settle up at the end of the night and argue with your bartender that your tab doesn’t seem very accurate.
Enter TabbedOut, the mobile payment solution that tracks your drinks and pays the tab directly through the phone. TabbedOut maps a number of nearby locations that can run a digital tab (the service works only at participating merchants). A unique code is produced for the tab, given to a server/bartender, and then drinks are ordered throughout the night as you normally would. When it comes time to leave, TabbedOut sends the linked credit card – stored securely and encrypted – info to the venue. A tip can be added for your server, a tab can be split between friends, and you can pay on your way out the door. Actually, you can pay even if you’re not in the same city, so pick up your brother’s restaurant bill on his birthday since you can’t make it home that weekend.
The TabbedOut process is designed to simplify the night-on-the-town payment system. In addition to being able to make one payment at the end of the night and even get a built-in tip calculator, users get a receipt for each tab. This makes it easy to store .pdf files for budgeting or expense reports, and all of that information can be archived within the app. As an added bonus, the app has numbers for local cab companies for those occasions when you might have had one too many.
Unfortunately, the ease of use is limited to a select group of places. TabbedOut is available at select locations in select cities in 32 states. Because a merchant must sign-up to participate in the program, your favorite hangout or a desired destination in a new city may not be compatible. In order for this app to have any value, it must be readily available at the bar 50 ft away, not 50 miles away. It may be more efficient for both consumers and merchants, but only if TabbedOut manages to increase its footprint of supported locations, which it seems to be doing. The company announced today that it is expanding in Seattle.
Download TabbedOut from the Android Market and see if your local bar or restaurant is supported.
- Maintains itemized tab that users pay when leaving
- Can pay a bill for a friend remotely
- Credit card payment stored securely and encrypted, unique code used for payments
- Built-in tip calculator, tab splitter, and receipt tracker
- Map showing nearby locations based on GPS