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Starbucks launches mobile payments

Want to pay for your coffee with your phone? Last week, Starbucks rolled out its new mobile payments service, available for users of Blackberry, iPhone and iPod Touch devices.  The new service launched in 6800 Starbucks stores in the United States and 1000 Target locations.

To use the service, coffee customers must download the Starbucks Card mobile app to their device.  That app has historically been used for finding nearby Starbucks locations, managing a Starbucks card balance and loading a Starbucks card from a credit card or Paypal account.   The coffee giant is piggybacking the mobile payments program onto their successful Starbacks card platform.  Right now, 1 in every 5 Starbucks transactions is paid using a Starbucks card, and last year, Starbucks customers loaded $1.5 billion onto Starbucks Cards.

Functionally, to make a mobile transaction, the coffee purchaser pulls up the Starbucks Card app on their mobile device to reveal the bar code of their Starbucks Card, and then they hold their mobile device in front of a scanner on the counter at the Starbucks location.  The scanner scans the on-screen bar code on the mobile device to complete the purchase.

I’m a huge fan of mobile payments.  Have you made a mobile payment at a Starbucks yet?  Let us know how it goes.