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Starbucks expands mobile payments, loyalty app to more than 6,800 stores

January 20, 2011

Starbucks mobile app

Starbucks is letting customers pay for in-store purchases via their smartphones as part of a national program that is now available in 6,800 company-operated stores.

The Starbucks Card Mobile application lets BlackBerry and iPhone users pay for their purchases faster. The company, which first tested mobile payments last year in several of its locations, claims that the program is the largest of its kind in the United States.

“The app helps customers in several ways,” said Drew Sievers, cofounder/CEO of mFoundry, San Francisco. “First, it provides them with easy access to their card balance.

“Second, it allows them to reload the card conveniently, and easily, before they enter a Starbucks queue – saving them time,” he said. “Third, the app allows customers to carry one less card in their wallet, providing a convenient and quick way to pay for their purchase.

“Ultimately, the app saves time for customers while offering them an easy way to pay, and earn loyalty points, from their purchases.”

Founded in 1971, Starbucks is a global roaster and retailer of specialty arabica coffee.   

The coffee giant tapped mFoundry to power the application and mobile payment program.

Cup a joe
In addition to launching the program in 6,800 company-operated stores, it is also available in more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target locations.

To pay via their smartphone, consumers can download the free application.

Once downloaded, customers can manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card, check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby location.

Consumers can scan their card

Consumers can reload their card

Consumers can enable payments

Consumers can find the closest location

Additionally, consumers can pay with their smartphone by holding their handset in front of a scanner on the Starbucks counter.

Then, they can scan the bar code on the screen to make a purchase.

Customers can also reload their card using their PayPal account.

Last October, Starbucks tested the program in nearly 300 company-operated stores in New York City and Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island (see story).

“Android is coming soon,” Mr. Sievers said. “No plans yet for Windows.”

Final Take
Rimma Kats is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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