Clipp Hands-On: Are Bar Tab Apps A Convenience Or Nuisance?

Clipp is a mobile payment app for Android and iOS that purports to streamline bar tab management. The app is compatible with the point-of-sale systems of more than 700 venues around Australia, with support for all states and territories. So is there actually any advantage to Clipp, or is it basically no different to plonking down your credit card? We recently tested the app at our local bar in a bid to find out.

Cocktail picture from Shutterstock

Clipp is a straightforward mobile payment app that lets you create, add to and close out bar tabs via PayPal or credit card. Unlike a traditional bar tab, Clipp lets you monitor your spending in real time and keeps an electronic record of everything you've ordered. This is probably it's main claim to fame: it means you can keep closer tabs on your actual spending and manually close the tab if you decide to cut the night short. Crucially, you can also split tabs between friends who also have the app.

Setting up an account is blessedly easy: after linking your credit card or PayPal account to the app, you simply select a nearby venue (handily pointed out via your phone's GPS) and set a spending limit of between $20 and $5000. Once you've logged in you can make payments on your tab with a couple of taps.

We tested out the service at Quay Bar in NSW. We were anticipating some confusion or outright suspicion from the bartender, but she seemed to take it in her stride. After showing the Clipp app, we were assigned a number that appears on the app's screen:

The onscreen number is massive and easily spied from afar. You're supposed to flash this while ordering drinks, but we successfully placed an order by just shouting out the number. Our advice is to guard your phone against cheeky patrons; otherwise you may see some mystery drinks appear on your tab. On the plus side, you'll be able to see any unauthorised orders immediately. With a regular bar tab, you usually only find out at the end of the night (if at all.)

Once we were up and running, we experienced no issues with ordering. At one point, we ordered a burger and were accidentally sent two, although we put this down to a kitchen stuff-up rather than the app. In any event, we weren't charged for it and got to keep the extra food. Hurrah!

All in all, the Clipp app is a great tool for people who like to settle in for a night of drinking at a single pub and prefer to keep their dealings with staff to a minimum. On the other hand, people who prefer to hop from pub to pub are probably better off sticking to card or cash payments. You can download Clipp from Google Play and App Store for Android and iOS, respectively.


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