The new feature isn't available as a standalone tool; instead, it is an option in Mastercard's Qkr app that merchants can activate on their compatible payment systems. So, for instance, if your favorite pub is using a payment terminal that works with Qkr, they'll need to enable the feature. You will then have to download the establishment's app (since Qkr is a white-label service that companies can brand) or find their page on Mastercard's Qkr Marketplace portal to pay for your order.
During a recent briefing, I checked out a prototype of the feature in Qkr Marketplace, which wasn't fully functional yet. The home page displays a list of restaurants around you, and you select the one you're at. Through the simple, colorful interface, you can create a bar tab, and when you're ready to pay, you can claim exactly which food or drink items you want added to your bill.
Your party can also all join in on the app to split the tab, and each person can claim their own items, generating a specific total for each individual. That's very handy, and can reduce time spent waiting at the end of a meal for someone to figure out the math. Of course, since our demo was just a prototype, it's not certain exactly how the tool will operate when it does arrive.
Qkr is already available in several countries, including the US, where restaurant chain Wagamama has integrated Mastercard's bill-sharing feature into its own app. Mastercard says some partners are onboard to start offering the bar tab tool this summer, but it can't share details on who these are just yet. Still, this should excite frequent pubgoers who will welcome the day they no longer have to worry about staying sober enough to remember to close out their tabs.
Click here to catch up on the latest news from MWC 2017.