Starbucks rolls out payments nationwide with Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone app

Jan 27, 2011
Shine

Certain test markets across the U.S. have been privy to Starbucks’ mobile payment option, which asks users to load funds onto a mobile gift card, and swipe a barcode on their phone to pay for a purchase. Now the coffee giant is taking this payment process nationwide, so iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users who […]

Certain test markets across the U.S. have been privy to Starbucks’ mobile payment option, which asks users to load funds onto a mobile gift card, and swipe a barcode on their phone to pay for a purchase. Now the coffee giant is taking this payment process nationwide, so iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad users who want to partake will need to install the app, Starbucks Card Mobile.

Through Starbucks Card Mobile, users can load in existing Starbucks cards, and instantly see available balance. I had a Starbucks card taking up space in my wallet from my last trip to a Coinstar machine, and I was quickly able to input the card’s information to the app to see that it was, indeed, holding a zero balance. I didn’t have to be sad about this for long, because Starbucks Card Mobile lets users reload their cards within the app using either a credit card or PayPal. Entering my card and billing information took a bit of time on the iPhone’s small screen (the app has a bug that emptied fields I had previously filled, which lengthened the process), but within a couple of minutes, I again had $10 sitting on my Starbucks card.

To use the app to purchase your caffeine fix, you’ll tap the “Touch to Pay” icon on the cards screen, and swipe the displayed barcode across the in-store reader. Some users have reported difficulty using the service in locations just acquiring the technology, but I gave the system a go at the Starbucks counter at my local Target. My barista had to scan the phone twice, but once the transaction took, my available balance immediately reflected the purchase and I was on my way, latte in hand.

The app also integrates the Starbucks reward program that gives users stars for every purchase, which can be redeemed for free drinks and extras. I was disappointed to see that the functions of the myStarbucks app were not integrated (that app offers a drink builder, menu and nutrition information). I hope to see this in the future.

Starbucks Card Mobile is a good alternative to keeping track of yet another plastic card, and the rewards incentive should be enough for users to hop on board.

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