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Starbucks rolls out largest mobile payments effort nationwide

March 31, 2010

The Starbucks Card mobile application has been updated to be accepted at 1,020 Target and Starbucks stores, making it the largest mobile payment initiative in the United States.

MFoundry, Larkspur, CA, created the application in September 2009. The mobile application lets Starbucks customers check their card balance, reload the card and view transactions.

“Now that customers can use the Starbucks Card Mobile app at Starbucks locations within Target stores nationwide, they will have more opportunities to experience the ease and convenience of paying for their favorite Starbucks beverages with a flash of their iPhone or iPod touch devices,” said Brady Brewer, vice president of Starbucks Card and Store Segmentation for Starbucks.

“We are thrilled to make mobile payments available at Starbucks stores within Target, which has been a Starbucks licensee for more than 10 years,” he said.

As part of the Starbucks Card Mobile application launch, Starbucks tested mFoundry’s mobile payment component, letting customers in 16 stores in Seattle and Northern California to pay using their iPhone or iPod touch mobile device.

The test was so successful that the company is now letting consumers in 1,020 stores in the U.S. make payments via their mobile devices.

Consumers can also use the application to view their Starbucks Card balance. The Card balance is prominently displayed on the home page of the Starbucks Card Mobile App. Customers with more than one card loaded on Starbucks Card Mobile can access all balances from the home screen with the touch of a button.

Here is a screen grab of the card balance page within the application:

Additionally, consumers can reload their card directly from their iPhone and iPod touch with a major credit card.

For a limited time, the first time consumers reload their mobile card with $25 or more using a Visa card, they earn a $5 bonus.

Here is a screen grab of the relod page within the application:

For the mobile payment feature, consumers’ devices display a bar code that can be used just like their physical Starbucks Card to make a purchase.

Here is a screen grab of the payments feature within the application:

Customers who register their Starbucks Card online or on their mobile device and pay using their iPhone or iPod touch in select stores will also enjoy the same Starbucks Card Rewards benefits as customers who pay using a traditional registered Starbucks Cards.

Benefits include:
-Free syrup and milk options
-Brewed coffee refills (iced or hot) at no extra charge on the same visit
-A complimentary Tall beverage of choice with a whole bean purchase
-Two consecutive hours of free AT&T Wi-Fi per day in stores

“Everybody was excited about the 16 stores and virtualization of gift cards, but now expanding to 1,020 makes this one of the largest payments initiatives in the mobile commerce space,” said Jon Squire, senior vice president of wallet and payments at mFoundry. “We hope this serves as a catalyst to move along the mobile commerce industry.

“Starbucks is a partner that provides their customers an amazing service and their continued focus on putting their customer first allows them to pioneer in the mobile space,” he said.


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Giselle Tsirulnik is senior editor at Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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