Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks is taking its mobile payments plan nationwide. The company started testing mobile payments in September 2009 and now it is expanding the program to 6,800 stores across the country and soon onto other devices.
According to The Seattle Times, one in five transactions is now made with store cards and Starbucks vice president of card and brand loyalty says that mobile payments "will extend the way our customers experience and use their Starbucks Card."
Making payments with your smartphone at Starbucks is simple enough. Simply download the app for your iPhone, iPod Touch or Blackberry device and when you make a purchase, hold it out for the cashier to scan. The app deducts the purchase from your Starbucks account, which can be reloaded with credit cards or PayPal.
According to the Times, Starbucks Cards took off at Starbucks in 2010, with customers loading more than $1.5 billion onto the cards, a 21% increase over 2009.
With any mobile payments system, the first question many ask is "will the people trust it?" After a year long trial, we're figuring that Starbuck's nationwide launch indicates that people indeed trust the service enough to use it. Will users be as trusting later this year when we start to see more and more mobile payments apps launch using Near Field Communications chips instead of bar codes? We'll see.
The company says that an Android app is in the works.