By Chuck Martin
The best testing ground for consumers looking to try out mobile payments for the first time just may be Subway.
Want to try out Apple Pay? Subway has it. Softcard? Check. Pay by the Subway app? No problem.
While the positioning of the payment titans takes the stage, Subway has been quietly chugging along looking to let consumers pay however they want.
Last year, the company added a mobile wallet by Paydiant into its own app so people could pay from inside the app, which I wrote about here at the time (Subway Adding Mobile Payments to the Menu).
That payment platform is white labeled, so consumers only see payments by Subway.
In its Apple Pay announcement last week, Subway was featured as one of the merchants set up to use the service.
And now Softcard, the joint venture of AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile formerly known as Isis (still the name at the top of the announcement at the time of this writing), announced it will be available for payment at 26,000 Subway locations.
An interesting twist for customers using Softcard mobile payments is they receive $1 back on every purchase over $1 made via the American Express Serve card.
With Apple Pay and Softcard, Subway gives a boost to NFC (near field communication), since consumers will need the technology, already in many millions of Android phones and coming in the iPhone 6.
Consumers will be trained to tap to pay.
They also can pay just using the app, including in advance ordering.
And yes, they can still use cash.
May the best payment method win.
Chuck Martin is Editor of the mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk column. He is the author of “Mobile Influence,” “The Third Screen,” and “The Smartphone Handbook.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute. Chuck Martin is a frequent Mobile Keynote Speaker and Mobile Marketing Speaker internationally. He also addresses Social Media in Mobile.