" />

CardFree, a mobile-wallet startup founded by payments-industry veterans with experience in mobile-payments apps, says its first merchant partner is Sonic Drive-In, a quick-serve restaurant chain with more than 3,500 locations.

“It was really important for us to create as little friction as possible for merchants,” Squire says.

That experience will aid CardFree, says Todd Ablowitz, president of payments consulting firm Double Diamond Group. “CardFree has a smart team that has proven its capability in more than one venue,” Ablowitz says.

Many merchants look at the Starbucks mobile app as a success, says Rick Oglesby, analyst at consulting firm Aite Group LLC, and would like to have something similar. Offering a mobile payment app can provide many benefits, he says. One is that when consumers pay by phone the retailer gains contact and identity information. “The retailer can build an ongoing relationship with customers that they can’t do with anonymous customers,” Oglesby says.

Digital Transactions, October 3, 2013