Fleetcor, McDonald’s Team Up to Add Voice-Based Mobile Payments to the Menu

November 5, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

Sometimes, some of the best mobile payments developments come from unlikely sources. A new team-up between a fast-food giant and a toll-paying fleet system is one such source, as McDonald’s and Fleetcor have teamed up in Brazil to bring a voice-based mobile payments system to drive-thru window operations.

More specifically, Fleetcor will be adapting its Sem Parar systems for the McDonald’s drive-thru. In an incredible boost for convenience, all customers will need to do is say “I’m paying with Sem Parar” at the drive-thru, and the bill is paid automatically.

McDonald’s Brazilian franchisee Arcos Dorados president Paulo Camargo noted “We are very happy with this partnership because it makes the purchase process more convenient for clients, who are our main focus. The customers can choose where to shop and how to pay. That allows for a comprehensive shopping experience.”

Such a move would represent a potentially big new market segment for Fleetcor’s Sem Parar, which at last report counts 5.5 million. It also makes Sem Parar more attractive overall as an offering. Plus, it gives McDonald’s something exciting to offer, with a hefty gee-whiz factor and a big boost to convenience besides.

Of course, it might not be much more than a novelty. Paying at a drive-thru window, even with cash, isn’t exactly a time-consuming operation. The switch from forking over cash and getting change to saying “I’m paying with Sem Parar” would account for less than a minute saved per customer, and realistically, it’s probably under 15 seconds at that. It would speed up the flow at the drive-thru, certainly, and that’s a point to remember during higher-traffic times like the lunch or dinner rush.

However, it’s really up for debate just how much impact this would have. The idea is definitely novel, and it gives McDonald’s a real boost in the perception of greater innovation. Yet the time saved here may be comparatively minor. It will be great to have some hard numbers on just how well this is received and what impact it has on Brazilian McDonald’s. Then we can start projecting to other countries’ McDonald’s locations.