I started using the McDonald’s app about a year ago.
I thought I should try it out, see how it works, so I could write about it here.
And you know what….? It’s great. Super handy.
Super easy… most of the time. A little buggy, sometimes.
And it provides some great rewards and discounts.
The only issue I have with it, is…
There’s no option not to do this.
They way the McDonald’s app is intended to be used is that you place your order with the app and have it billed directly to your card, so that you don’t have to pay at the restaurant.
However, your card is not charged until you pick up your order.
They don’t even prep your order until you are at the restaurant and give them your confirmation code. That’s a good thing for those of us that like our food as hot and fresh as possible.
Once they have your confirmation code, they prepare your food and give it to you along with the receipt.
Can You Pay With Cash?
But let’s say you want to buck the system and pay in cash.
It can be done…. but it might get a little tricky.
The manager of my local McDonald’s confirmed that cashiers can help customers pay cash for an order they placed through the app.
However, in practice, I have found that cashiers often don’t know they can do this. When I spoke to the manager, he said he would speak with his cashiers to make sure they understand how it works.
He did make it clear that the customer needs to request paying cash first, before giving the cashier the confirmation code. Once the confirmation code is entered, their system is going to charge the card and print the receipt. It’s too late after that.
If the cashier tells you that the app charged your card when you placed the order and therefor you can’t pay in cash, they don’t understand how it works. You may have to ask for a manager.
Of course, if you have to ask for a manager, the whole idea of the app – a fast, easy, efficient ordering system – goes by the wayside.
It’s also unclear if rewards/discounts are applied if you order through the app but request paying in cash. It may be that the entire order is redone at the store as if you weren’t using the app, and that rewards/discounts don’t apply.
Why doesn’t McDonald’s include a cash option in the app, so you can order efficiently, get rewards, but pay cash upon pickup?
We’ve contacted McDonald’s press office repeatedly over the last year and asked this and other questions about paying cash when using the app.
They have not responded.
A Tip From an Insider
A long time McDonald’s casher who shall remain anonymous told me today that there’s a trick to paying cash while using the app.
She indicated that once the debit or credit card used to set up the app expires, if you don’t update it, the cashier will just ask you to pay cash since the card can’t be charged.
She didn’t say for sure whether discounts and rewards still would apply as normal, but I suspect they will.
If you are reading this and your card is expiring soon – would you be willing to test it and let me know about your experience? I’ll update this post with your findings. Just contact me through our message form. Thanks!