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CarPay Looks to Bring Mobile Payments to More Drive-Thrus

March 1, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

Anyone who’s ever hit a drive-thru in the rain knows firsthand that it’s not the best idea. After all, rolling down your car window while it’s raining—or while it’s snowing—is a recipe for uncomfortable writ large. That’s what happened to Andrew Morrison, an aviation student at Mount Allison University who took his late-night soaking and turned it into a new mobile payments tool.

The new tool in question is known as CarPay, a system that allows users to place orders and make payments from a mobile device inside a car, without ever having to roll down the window until the customer gets to the generally-covered part where you have to actually get the food.

CarPay looks to work with a wide range of brands, and not just for restaurants, but also for gas stations. This means there’s no need for a separate app for each brand, and it takes better advantage of infrastructure that’s already in place.

There’s even a Venmo-esque sharing function that allows users to split tabs among several users, and CarPay expects that paying from the car would speed up every transaction by 45 seconds, on average, which represents a substantial savings over several hundred customers per day. Best of all, the system can work without needing to get an app to the individual businesses; all the payments processing works on CarPay’s back end, which means businesses need only check up occasionally to see what’s going on.

Since the merchants themselves don’t need the app, it might be a great way for those who don’t already have an app to take the leap into mobile ordering. It’s going to be hard to see, however, how CarPay can convince anyone who already has an app that they should ditch it and start using CarPay instead. The inertia involved in using an already-established app will be tough to pass up. If CarPay can extend its reach sufficiently that customers keep it on the front screen of their smartphones, though, businesses may want to add CarPay to make sure customers have some access.

CarPay may have a bit of an uphill battle here to be anything more than a niche product, but it could end up peeling off a nice slice of market for itself.