Pay By Touch Not So Much

I’ve often wondered who uses the Pay By Touch systems at Cub Foods stores. It turns out the answer is, “not nearly enough people”:

Beleaguered Pay By Touch Looks To Sell Itself in Two Auctions

Pay By Touch’s biometrics business proved to be a huge money loser despite installations in more than 700 U.S. retail locations, most notably SuperValu Inc.’s Jewel/Osco grocery stores in the Chicago area. The biometrics and so-called personalized marketing businesses lost $137 million last year on only $600,000 in revenue, according to documents filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles, which is overseeing the case.

It seemed like a solution in need of a problem to me. I tend to have plenty of time to dig out my wallet and whip out a card during the time it takes the cashier to scan my stack of Jack’s Pizzas.

Plus, it only worked with checking accounts so you’ll miss out on your credit card incentives. I suppose Cub chose to do that so they wouldn’t have to may a Pay by Touch fee on top of a credit card merchant fee in their relatively low margin business.

Here’s a story1. from 2005 when Pay by Touch launched at its first MN location.

1. It’s cool that Blaine newspaper has a linkable archive from 2005.

One thought on “Pay By Touch Not So Much”

  1. I suppose it was a spin off of the success of banking ATMs, except inserting a specific card and getting back specific cash is a whole lot easier.

    What killed it for me was trying to bag on a scale. It was annoying as hell trying to insert the groceries into a bag while not effing up that weighing process.

    Then, since my daughter works in a grocery store, it occurred to me that I was contributing to her future layoff if this crappy anti-social idea worked, so I figured it did me no good to master the bagging process when I could just go to a checkout clerk who needed a job anyways.

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