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Now You Can Skip Out of Restaurants—Legally

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No more pantomiming the signing of a restaurant bill or pretending to scratch your head when the waiters ignore you.

Barclaycard, the payment services arm of U.K. bank Barclays Plc, is testing a system called Dine & Dash that lets customers walk out of restaurants once they’ve finished eating.

Users who download a mobile app and enter bank details can touch their smartphones to a device on the restaurant table when they sit down. The system automatically takes payment, and the gadget changes color to inform the staff. Diners receive a digital receipt, and the app lets them split bills or apply discounts.

Mastercard Inc. has also developed an app that enables diners to pay their bills via mobile phones at a number of U.K. restaurant chains.

Restaurant-goers can try Dine & Dash at a London branch of Italian-themed chain Prezzo next month, Barclaycard said.

(Adds Mastercard system in fourth paragraph.)
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