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New Payment Plans


With locations seemingly on every street corner across the nation, large coffeehouses and small coffee shops alike are looking at new ways to attract shoppers in need of a caffeine fix. For Woods Coffee, a six-store chain based in Lynden, Wash., a new RFID-based solution is helping the company identify customers, and enabling them to electronically, contactlessly and securely pay for orders.

Woods Coffee cafes’ comfortable atmosphere invites visitors to sip a coffee as they sit and relax, or catch up on work with the help of free broadband wireless Internet access. The company’s SpeedBean payment option is the newest reason for customers to return to the cafes.

Shoppers can get RFID-enabled key fobs at any of the chain’s locations. Then shoppers are directed to sign onto, where they link their checking or savings accounts to electronically load the IR SpeedBean accounts with a pre-determined amount.

As shoppers pay for orders, they simply wave the key fob over a dedicated payment terminal to complete the sale. The solution, which is provided by Accelitec, Bellingham, Wash., can also be programmed to link an electronic photo of the user to the tag, further securing the transaction.

“Receipts can be sent to an e-mail or mobile phone, freeing up the visitor to just pay and go,” explained Tom Bartz, CEO at Accelitec. “Retailers can also opt to have users input their cell-phone number or a PIN to further secure the transaction.”

The program currently processes approximately 22% of Woods’ daily transactions, and Speed-Bean has helped the chain increase market-basket sizes by 26%, he noted.

Woods, which installed the solution about two years ago, also acts as “Accelitec’s test lab,” Bartz said. “We are currently in discussions with two supermarket chains, a national company and a regional chain, as well as other retailers in the coffee-house space.”

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