Publix Poised to Take Mobile Payments Via Its iPhone App

June 12, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

If there’s one place that mobile payments can really make an impact, it’s big-box retail, especially groceries. We’ve seen it before at chains like Meijer, as it’s now possible to turn your phone into a checkout stand, using mobile payments systems to pay for your groceries without having to wait in a line for one of a few manned checkout stations or the self-checkout systems that only work with a few groceries. Publix is stepping into this arena itself, rolling out a new mobile payments system gradually to all its stores.

The move will be a phased rollout, Publix reps noted, and will eventually not only be available to iOS users, but also to Android users. That’s not an uncommon state of development; iOS developments usually come first since the iOS platform is universal across Apple devices. While neither rollout has a confirmed date of completion, it will keep moving along until complete.

The Publix app will also allow for the use of digital coupons to be applied to the total, and those planning to use the app will need to connect a debit or credit card to it, or a “flexible spending account” card will do. The end result, Publix rep Brian West describes, will be “…a way for our customers to plan, shop, save and pay with ease.”

This is the main purpose of a mobile payments app, especially in a grocery store. There’s no word as yet as to whether customers will be able to use the app as their own checkout stand, or whether there will be any loyalty program connection to the app aside from the aforementioned digital coupons. Still, from the sounds of things, Publix has at least the rudiments of a mobile payments system ready to go. That’s a step in the right direction, and certainly, the remainder can be added as available later on.

Some of the things that would be really useful do seem to be missing in the Publix app, but a start has been made. That’s good enough as long as it’s just a start, and if we see Publix customers able to use their phones as barcode-scanning checkout systems down the line, the minor delay should do little harm going forward.