Cell phones replace wallet at restaurant

By Danielle McLaughlin
February 22, 2011

Imagine going out to dinner and only bringing your cell phone, no wallet necessary. In this modern-age of technology, a very traditional task is about to get a contemporary makeover.

A company by the name of XIPWIRE has created a technology that will allow restaurant goers the opportunity to pay the bill through their cell phone. No wallet is needed and no more digging for change.

Anyone who knows how to use a computer can use XIPWIRE. Simply by logging on, creating an account and linking it to a bank account already in use, a XIPWIRE account is then created.

The difference between a regular bank account and a XIPWIRE account is that friends can transfer money into a XIPWIRE account by texting the desired amount of money to transfer.

According to Sibyl Lindsay, co-founder of XIPWIRE, the way XIPWIRE works is when the bill comes, everyone that has an XIPWIRE account at the table should designate one person to send the text message that will pay the bill. The bill can be split in however many ways needed. The other people at the table will transfer their portion of the bill to the “designated payer” who will take the money transferred and use it to pay the bill. The tip can also be transferred via text message.

“Tipping works the same way a credit card tip works, in that it gets logged into our system and the tip gets applied to paychecks,” Ashley Primis, STARR Restaurant’s director of special projects, said.

XIPWIRE is also available as an iPhone application and will soon be available on Android phones as well.

Each individual XIPWIRE account allows the account holder the ability to have up to five XIPWIRE wallets. This means one wallet can be designated to pay the bills and one wallet can be used to pay tuition.

XIPWIRE made its first appearance last spring at the Rittenhouse Row Spring Festival. Since then, two restaurants have put the technology to use. The first restaurant “Pod,” located in Philadelphia and “Zahav,” also located in Philadelphia.

“We’ve (Pod) been using it (XIPWIRE) for about four months. We hope to unveil it to some of our other restaurants within the next year,” Primis said.

“We are always looking to explore new opportunities in terms of technology,” STARR Restaurant’s director of special projects, Primis, said. “XIPWIRE approached us and it felt like it was a great fit. Some of our restaurants have a younger, tech-savvy customer base and felt that it would be a service they might want to use.”



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Danielle McLaughlin

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