As expensive as it cost to live in the UK and the taxes they take out on you working there I bet its $10+ for a large coffee there.This tech sounds like NFC here which hasn't taken off just yet in most places but is included in most smartphones.
In Canada we use this kind of thing already. I swipe my credit card, one second and it is done. My Fiance users an app on her phone (which is prepaid) and holds her screen up to the scanner, one second done.
When using the chip cards, you have to swipe, wait for it to make contact with the bank (which can be a few seconds or more) then enter your pin, press okay, wait for it to approve and away you go. Swipe is SO much faster !!!