Starbucks launches largest mobile payment program in the US


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Starbucks has started accepting mobile payments. Customers can use the Starbucks Card Mobile app on their iPhone, iPod touch, or BlackBerry at nearly 6,800 company-operated Starbucks stores in the US plus more than 1,000 outlets inside Target stores. To pay with their phone, app users simply select "touch to pay" and hold up the barcode on the screen to the 2D scanner at the register. The app also lets users manage Starbucks accounts and find nearby stores.

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tarbucks found that Starbucks Card Mobile was faster in application speed, transaction speed, and total customer wait time than all other ways of payment.
I find that very difficult to believe, because I imagine the process as: people taking their phones out, unlocking it, finding the app, waiting for the app to open and confirming the transaction. Some will undoubtedly have issues in between, such as the confusion of bluetooth being disabled and having to arrive at the conclusion that the bar code scanner must be used instead... which probably doesn't work 100% of the time with a smudgy, finger-grime riddled phone screen anyhow.

I'm not saying the technology is bad -- it's certainly cool and even useful -- but it is hardly worthwhile for anyone carrying a credit card.

Security is a whole other discussion. I assume NFC via bluetooth is encrypted etc... But it isn't hard to imagine an effective spoof or other hack all done in the comfort of the Quiznos next door.


NFC does not have to be bluetooth.
Contactless payment systems have been in use all over the U.S. for many years, just not widely utilized by the public due to lack of education and marketing on the part of the banks.
Go to any McDonalds, or popular pharmacy/convenience store chain and you will see contactless payment terminals. Most people use their mag stripe cards on them without realizing that if they actually have the chip in their cards, they can just tap and pay.
As for security, it's much more secure than mag stripe or bar code.


Hi Rick,

You are correct for first time users, but not for repeat offenders. Once people figure out you only need to have the barcode on the screen at the time of purchase, you should see how fast it goes. People are all playing with their smartphones in line anyway, as they get their coffee they just hold the phone up to the barcode scanner - transaction complete.

It is actually very efficient. It won't work for my mother, but for most of the yuppie crowd already heads down over their smartphone, it works wonders.


Posts: 3,342   +2,817
Rick said:

I'm not saying the technology is bad -- it's certainly cool and even useful -- but it is hardly worthwhile for anyone carrying a credit card.
I'm going to stick to my card. This seems kinda silly. I have my money in my bank, I don't want to move that to my phone bill. I guess it could have some novelty to the higher-ups, but this doesn't seem practical.


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My purchase at Starbucks consists of handing the cashier some cash and thowing the change in the tip jar ... quick and simple.


Posts: 1,379   +70
It does seem kinda silly..Lots of companys try different methods of payment, but people always come back to hard cash for small payments like coffee and stuff.


Posts: 3,357   +116
I like the idea of contactless payment using a card, but I think this is a step too far - Your just moving the bills over to your cell (or mobile in my case) phone instead.
All of this effort wasted on creating a profile just to let you know that we are the ones behind. Please take some time to read up on EMV technology before you go on about Canada's payment system. I would even get as bold to see how they are handling their interchange rates which has obviously been such a success for our Federal Reserve to handle. They have move to micro chip technology when we are still using the mag strip on our cards.