Innovation That Matters

Windshield-mounted device makes fast food payments even quicker


A new innovation called iDriveThru is enabling hands-free fast food payments using RFID car windshield tags.

Physical wallets are gradually disappearing as new technologies enable consumers to pay through more automatic methods, and we’ve even previously seen companies such as Uniqul hint at cash and card-less payments with facial recognition. Although we’re not quite there yet, a new innovation called iDriveThru is enabling hands-free fast food payments at selected New York takeaways using RFID car windshield tags.

The system — which uses the E-ZPass transponder that many motorists already use to pay toll booth charges automatically — is currently in use at the five drive-thru Wendy’s restaurants in Staten Island. Customers first need to link their credit, debit or prepaid card to their E-ZPass through the iDriveThru website. Upon arriving at Wendy’s, the tag’s data is then read by sensors, offering visitors a personalized greeting on the video above the intercom. Once they’ve made their order, the card details are read from the tag and the payment is taken automatically. In addition, customers earn ten reward points for every dollar they spend, with 500 points being redeemable for a USD 5 coupon at Wendy’s.

Although iDriveThru isn’t currently affiliated with any toll agency and New York-based consumers can’t pay for food through their Metropolitan Transport Authority top-ups, the technology shows how payments can be made more convenient and seamless with RFID tags. It’s easy to see how motorists could perhaps be charged for other products and payments by adapting the devices even further, while local authorities could take a cut of the increased revenue.



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