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Tim Horton says “No” to Debit Cards

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Tim Horton says “No” to Debit Cards
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The beauty of business travel has to be the opportunity to see life through a different lens. At least I am claiming this as a benefit as there has to be an offset to long airport security lines, expensive food, and uncomfortable airline seats that compose the rest of the experience!

When we remain sequestered in the US, we tend to believe that the way we do things is the “only” way. But while we naval-gaze on how we can leverage the continual wave of innovative technology to add Horton_NoDebitefficiency and cost savings to our business, we miss the bigger point. There are still lots of gaps to be closed in markets outside the US and quite a few of them can be closed with minimal effort or thought. For example, when I find reward program operators hoping to add online rewards redemption or upgrade technology, I can confidently provide advice without stretching the limits of imagination.

On the other hand, I often encounter situations where technology is more advanced or a business model different enough that loyalty program operations are enabled well beyond what we can execute within our borders. The fact that many banks are both issuers and acquirers of cards opens up all sorts of possibilities for POS messaging and reward redemption that is a much bigger challenge to implement in the US.

At the end of a busy day in Toronto this week, I was seeking a little caffeine boost and stopped into Tim Hortons, Canada’s favorite coffee and donut provider. Waiting to pay, I saw a sign on the counter informing me that Debit cards were not accepted at Tim Horton’s “to maintain our high speed of service“. I posted the photo on my Pikcur account and share it with you here just in case you don’t believe me.

I’m really not sure how to interpret Tim Hortons’ policy on Debit Cards. Visa had a long running campaign illustrating how debit cards bring speed and convenience to daily shopping experiences and the launch of contactless debit cards several years ago raised the ante on moving the “Q” through check out.

Maybe its really not speed that Tim Horton is worried about. In fact maybe their policy is less about adding convenience to the customer experience and more about reducing processing costs. Even that argument falls short as the cost of cash-handling has been proven to be significant in the QSR world.

Sometimes we don’t have all the answers, but we can observe and document for the moment, hoping that the dots are connected somewhere down the road. For now, I’ll just put Tim Horton in my “Questions about Debit Cards” file.

 

 

 

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