Starbucks rolls out mobile payments in the US

Seattle based coffee store Starbucks is to roll out a mobile payment service to over 7,800 stores in the US.

Starbucks has been piloting a mobile payments system since September 2009 in stores in Seattle and Silicon Valley and they’re so happy with the results they’re rolling out the system to all the 6,800 stores across the US and in it’s 1,000 concessions in Target stores.

“Today, one in five Starbucks transactions is made using a Starbucks Card and mobile payment will extend the way our customers experience and use their Starbucks Card,” says Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Brand Loyalty. “With mobile payment, the Starbucks Card platform further elevates the customer experience by delivering convenience, rewarding loyalty and continuing to build an emotional connection with our customers.”

The current system is limited to just iPhone and certain BlackBerry users and is a little convoluted in the way it works. Customers wishing to pay with their mobile phone at Starbucks need first need a Starbucks loyalty card, once they have this they then need to download the Starbucks Card Mobile App. Once they’ve done this they then enter the card details into the app, which produces a barcode on screen. The customer then passes their smartphone in front of the ePOS scanner everytime they want to buy anything. It’s not exactly Near Field Communications (NFC), it’s more like the Tesco loyalty card app on iPhone, but it’s a start at least.

“More than one-third of US Starbucks customers use smartphones, of which nearly three quarters use BlackBerry smartphone or iPhone mobile devices,” the company explains. “In addition to the mobile payment capability, the app allows customers to manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card with any major credit card (iPhone users can also use the PayPal feature), check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby Starbucks store with the store locator feature.”
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