Starbucks has extended its ‘pay by phone’ programme across the U.S. in what it claims is the biggest mobile payment scheme in the country.
The pilot programme started in coffee shops in Seattle, New York and Silicon Valley in late 2009 but has been rolled out to 6,800 Starbucks stores and over 1,000 outlets in Target shops.
To use the ‘pay by phone’ system, latte-lovers with a Starbucks Card can download an iPhone or BlackBerry application, which displays a barcode on the phone’s screen that is scanned on the ‘countertop’ to pay for drinks.
In the UK, many people are used to loyalty coffee cards where you often collect stamps and get your 20th cuppa free, but pre-loaded Starbucks cards are big business in the US and are loaded with over $1.5bn in the last year, up 21 percent from 2009 levels.
The Starbucks app required for the ‘pay by phone’ service also allows users to manage their Starbucks accounts and locate nearby shops. 1 in 5 Starbucks transactions is now made by store cards, Brady Brewer, VP of card and brand loyalty at Starbucks said.
He added: “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.”
More than 1 third of Starbucks customers use smartphones and nearly three quarters of those mobile and coffee-cup toting consumers use a BlackBerry or iPhone.
“Mobile payment is just one example of how we’re continually innovating on behalf of our customers to enhance the Starbucks Experience. A growing segment of our customers use smartphones, and through the Starbucks Card Mobile App, we’re providing them with the fastest way to pay,” said Brewer.
Starbucks is developing an Android application but apparently there is no current plan to extend the payment service to Windows Phone 7.