SUBWAY Makes Lunching Easy With Mobile Payment Roll Out


Nearly half (48%) of workers today say their lunch break lasts 30 minutes or less, according to research from OfficeTeam.

As consumers’ break time shrinks, they are seeking fast, convenient ways to purchase their meals. That is why the SUBWAY restaurant chain has launched NFC-based mobile payments with Softcard, the mobile commerce venture created by AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless.

“We are convinced that many of our customers will enjoy the convenience of converting to digital payments,” said Carman Wenkoff, CIO of SUBWAY, in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Our goals are simple — make our customer experience even better. By introducing solutions like Softcard, it makes the checkout experience even easier and more convenient.”


Softcard-branded NFC terminals will be rolled out to more than 26,000 locations on Oct. 1, 2014. With the implementation, Softcard holders will be able to use their mobile phones to purchase SUBWAY meals and receive personalized offers.

Additionally, within the next few months SUBWAY plans to add its rewards program to the Softcard app, allowing customers to collect and redeem loyalty points within a single platform. Using SmartTap, a protocol developed by Softcard, consumers will be able to tap their phones on readers to delivery loyalty card information and offers directly to point of sale systems.

SUBWAY customers will be able to continue using traditional payment or opt in to the digital solution. “Our rewards program is payment channel agnostic,” Wenkoff said. “Whether our customers choose to pay physically or digitally, they will be able to earn and participate in our existing rewards program.”

To enable contactless payments, SUBWAY implemented new hardware touting NFC contactless technology and end-to-end encryption for secure payments. “Our NFC terminal deployments began in early 2014 and are almost complete,” Wenkoff explained. “We made some updates to our two proprietary POS software solutions to use these new NFC payment devices.”

SUBWAY initially piloted Softcard in Salt Lake City in 2013. After the test was deemed successful, the merchant rolled out the technology to all eligible stores nationwide, according to Wenkoff. SUBWAY plans to promote the benefits and capabilities of Softcard through a variety of in-store, digital and social media channels.

 “We received positive feedback from those who were able to pay in SLC,” Wenkoff said. “With smartphones being at the center of our consumers’ lives, we know that they value simplicity. Just as SUBWAY makes eating healthy simple, mobile payments are a simple way for customers to pay.”

As part of an awareness-building campaign for the new offering, SUBWAY will reward users who tap-and-pay $1 back on any purchase over $1 made with an American Express Serve card. The campaign runs until the end of 2014.

The Softcard app is available on more than 80 devices across AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless and is preloaded on more than 30 of those devices.

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