Starbucks Now Accepting Mobile Payments Nationwide

In Japan you’ve been able to pay for goods with your cellphone for a while. But starting today you can do the same thing in the US… at least at Starbucks. Since the last time I checked, Starbucks covers roughly 57 percent* of the square footage of most metropolitan areas, that’s a pretty good start.

Here’s how it works. You install the free Starbucks Card Mobile App for BlackBerry or iOS, load up your account with cash (using PayPal or a credit card account), and walk into any of the 7500** Starbucks locations in the US and flash your mobile app at the cashier. They’ll scan your phone’s screen to bill your account.

On the off chance that you don’t randomly stumble across a half dozen Starbucks locations in the course of your day already, you can also use the app to find nearby stores.

In the future, we may all use NFC, or Near Field Communications technology allowing you to just bring your phone near the cash register to pay. For now, scanning bar codes on the mobile app are about as close as we’re going to get in the States.

* This is not a real statistic.
** Believe it or not, this is a real figure.

This post republished from Mobiputing.

4 thoughts on “Starbucks Now Accepting Mobile Payments Nationwide”

  1. I’ve had the app for some time (covered it 9/09). Originally it was usable at a subset of stores, but then they added all Target outposts – which is where I tried it. Not sure what the official policy is, but the barista yanked the phone out of my hand to scan the code which was a bit unsettling. I assume they’re told to not actually handle the phone itself because I could see it being dropped or doused. But, if so, will they pay to replace it?

  2. I don’t want this.

    I want a Visa, MasterCard, and Amex app that does the same thing and works everywhere.

    Keeping up with a Starbucks account is like keeping up with a Sears, JCPenny, etc. account back in the day (it wasn’t that long ago that you had store-only credit cards – Your SearsCharge only worked in Sears).

    Oh, and for those of you who don’t remember, you has specific gas cards for specific brands. Your ‘Exxon’ gas card only worked at Exxon and didn’t have any Amex/Visa/MC logos on them. It was kind of a pain but that’s the way we did things back in the 1900s.

  3. I use the CardStar app to replace grocery store loyalty cards and the like. There are several stores at which I’ve had the checker take my phone away from me to scan it. I’d prefer they don’t, but sometimes it’s the only practical way to do it, depending on where the scanner is. (Then there are other stores that have slot-type scanners for the card to be slid through, which of course don’t work at all with this kind of setup). Anyway, kind of off-topic, but I’ve learned to live with it.

    I rarely go to Starbucks (free coffee at work, coffee I like better at home, etc.) but I actually have a fair amount of credit on my account that I have amassed from Starbucks cards given to me over the years. One of the reasons it just sits there is that on the rare occasion that I *do* go to Starbucks I never have a card with me (I try to keep my wallet slim). So having the phone app actually be usable at the locations I’d go to is very nice.

  4. BradB, yeah I remember Sears requiring a Sears card. Was a major bitch when I was in grad school and had things I needed to purchase (like tires) but had limited credit. Think we made my mom a cosigner a time zone away.

    The reason I don’t mind the Starbucks card is because I’m a frequent patron – at my Gold level, I get free refills. Yeah, the coffee isn’t the greatest. But the vibe is decent and there’s fewer distractions than I have at home. It’s safe to say this blog is Starbucks-powered. In fact, I used to pay T-Mobile like $30/mo for WiFi long before it was unmetered and free.

    But, at work, I use the Keurig or grab a Coke Zero from the vending machine.

    I downloaded CardStar a few weeks ago but haven’t entered anything into yet. Honestly, I don’t do much shopping (beyond Amazon) so it’s probably simplest to just give my phone number at these places – seems to work.

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