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Burger King taps MasterPass to gain wallet share among QSR fans

Burger King’s decision to offer MasterCard’s MasterPass alongside PayPal’s payment options speaks to its desire to market to Android customers and suggests more quick service marketers will broaden their mobile payment partners rather than rely on a single platform.

Burger King is adding MasterPass into its eponymous mobile application, while fellow food marketer Firehouse Subs will accept payments via the platform on its online ordering site. Consumers will be able to store their credit card information within the system and enjoy a one-step checkout when buying food items, a tool that has been featured prominently in the retail industry.

“Mobile and electronic payments are very important with keeping Firehouse Subs relevant and attractive to all consumers,” said Vince Burchianti, chief financial officer at Firehouse Subs, Jacksonville, FL. “As the use of smartphones continues to increase, electronic payments are following suit with the recent addition of Apple Pay and Android Pay to the payment space.

“An all-in-one device that could potentially replace one’s wallet, in a secure way, will become very attractive to consumers in the near future, if not already here.”

Pushing instant gratification
Mobile’s instant gratification capabilities are now permeating the food and beverage sector, as more brands begin experimenting with order and delivery features. Offering mobile payment options is paramount to making this process as streamlined as possible, as consumers who have difficulty navigating the checkout process may be deterred from attempting it again.

Burger King is planning to integrate MasterPass into its app later this summer. The Burger King app enables users to receive exclusive deals, find the nearest bricks-and-mortar restaurant, view menu options and pay for orders directly with their smartphones.

The Whoppers marketer previously integrated MasterCard’s service into its site in 2013.

During Apple Pay’s well-publicized rollout last fall, Burger King opted to eschew the popular platform and choose PayPal as its official partner instead. One feature that may have tipped the scales for Burger King is PayPal After Delivery, which allows users to pay up to two weeks after a purchase has been made.

Meanwhile, fellow chain Firehouse Subs will accept MasterPass on its ordering site,, this coming fall. Consumers will be able to pay for their burgers and sub sandwiches by clicking the Buy with MasterPass button on the checkout page.

The seamless, one-step checkout will likely drive up sales for the two brands by making it easier for customers to make impulse purchases.

While impulse buys for retail items may be trickier to fuel, as the products generally cost higher amounts, the inexpensive nature of fast food lends itself well to fast-working mobile payment options.

However, retail brands have been tapping MasterPass’s platform nonetheless. In February, Neiman Marcus, Office Depot and Rue La La were among the latest brands to leverage MasterPass’s purchasing capabilities (see story).

MasterCard’s competitors
MasterPass is currently available in 23 countries, and allows its users to pay online or on mobile. Approximately global 250,000 merchants accept its payments.

“MasterCard is working to ensure consumers can securely use their cards when, where and how they want regardless of the device they own or operating system they use,” said Matt Barr, group head of emerging payments at MasterCard, Purchase, NY. “As our industry evolves, MasterCard delivers safe, simple, intuitive platforms and solutions and we are committed to helping our partners provide enhanced consumer experiences.

“MasterPass is the digital shopping experience that connects consumers most immediately and directly with their financial institutions and is designed to work across a variety of devices, channels and operating systems.”

To set up an account, consumers may visit or sign up through a participating financial institution, such as Citibank.

MasterCard’s foray into mobile payments places the brand among a slew of other major competitors, some of which have already established a stronghold in the space. Apple Pay is accepted by many merchants in the United States, and is gaining adoption in foreign countries, such as Britain.

Google’s Android Pay is slated to release this fall, while the merchant-owned payments platform CurrentC is several weeks away from launch.

CurrentC has been in development for the better portion of three years, making consumers and experts even more curious about its offerings. However, if the platform does indeed manage to cater to merchants with schemes relevant to them, CurrentC may join the fray as another platform to watch this year.

CurrentC is also powered by PayPal, a consumer-trusted service.

Ultimately, brands must be cognizant of offering enough mobile payment options to include the vast majority of their consumers and prevent from turning away customers who favor a specific platform.

MasterCard is engaging in a smart move by teaming up with Burger King and Firehouse Subs, two well-known fast food marketers. The partnership will likely culminate in greater awareness for MasterPass and more potential customers for MasterCard.

“At Firehouse Subs, we are all about customer service and giving our customers what they want,” Firehouse Subs’ Mr. Burchianti said. “If one of our guests is a MasterPass user, then we will be able to make their buying experience more enjoyable and completed faster.

“We also see MasterPass as part of the ‘electronic payment movement’ happening throughout the country, and Firehouse Subs is proud to offer our guests this convenient payment technology in our restaurants.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York