The forthcoming app Cover promises a new kind of payment experience in which users can put away their cash, cards, and even smartphones, and just enjoy their meal. The waiter will never bother them with a check.
How’s that? We’re not exactly sure since there aren’t a lot of details out there, but it seems that users enter payment information and make a reservation with the Cover app. Then they show up, get seated, enjoy their meal, and leave when they’re done. The payment is handled behind the scenes and doesn’t need to intrude on the meal.
This is an intriguing concept that could easily be generalized to other payment situations. Perhaps a buyer wants to pick up a gift with the gift recipient. There’s no danger the recipient will see the price tag. Even better, the idea could be used with picking up rental cars and paying for hotels.
We’re speculating that Cover will carry little or no risk. A linked card or bank account will “cover” the transactions, and the restaurant will be able to settle up right away. Then users can look at their statements later and check out the damage.
Cover puts the value proposition this way:
Cover gives restaurants data to personalize service. Customers spend more when they don’t think about the check. Servers save time and turn tables faster. The result is better service and a better experience for everyone.
This is a kind of “premium” or “exclusive” experience that doesn’t need to be expensive. One of the founders of Cover is a former employee of the Consumer Financial Protections Bureau, so we imagine regulatory compliance is all taken care of. But we’re not sure how waiters will get diners out of the restaurant when things are busy!
Users can request more information about the app’s availability here.
Mobile payments will be discussed at Bank Innovation 2013 next week. Request your invitation here.