Starbucks has launched a mobile payment system in most of its U.S. stores, allowing customers to pay for their morning coffee with an iPhone or BlackBerry.
To take part in this, it’s necessary to download the free Starbucks Card Mobile App. Customers pay by holding their mobile device in front of a scanner on the store’s countertop to scan an on-screen barcode.
Money is loaded into the users’ accounts from any major credit card, or iPhone users can also use PayPal.
The app can be used at any of the nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target locations.
In addition to the mobile payment capability, the app can help customers find a nearby Starbucks store.
The company decided to use this smartphone payment system when its research showed that more than one-third of U.S. Starbucks customers use smartphones, of which nearly three quarters use a BlackBerry or iPhone.
Sharif Alexandre, a mobile payment expert and founder of XIPWIRE, said, “Overall, this is a positive move that raises awareness of the mobile payment industry, and what I think will be a tactic many retailers will implement in the near future.” But Alexandre also pointed out that this is a very small first step, as this payment app can only be used at a single chain of stores.
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