Updated: Starbucks Testing iPhone App That Can Pay For Coffee


Starbucks is testing an iPhone app in Seattle and the Bay Area that links to a customer’s registered account — and includes a bar code that can be used to pay for purchases instead of the plastic swipe cards. WSJ reports the chain will use feedback from the experiment to help plan the next steps. It makes perfect sense; whether it works or not, well …

The company’s first fully available iTunes app went live tonight: MyStarbucks, a detailed store finder with menu, nutritional info and a drink builder that does the fat and calories counting for you. Numerous non-company apps already offer Starbucks info, including iApp’s Find a Starbucks Coffee for $0.99. Both official apps are free with no ads.

Updated: The second app — Starbucks Mobile Card is live, too, although the “pay” feature can be used only at the test stores in Seattle and the Bay Area. (The list is in the app.) Log in and the card manager lets you see the balance on all multiple cards at once. (It doesn’t support Starbucks Duetto or Starbucks credit cards). It’s also possible to reload a card, refresh the balance, set up auto reload or check recent transactions (only $ amounts, not what was purchased). My morning visit was on there but the times don’t match exactly. While I was in Starbucks today, I tried out the MyStarbucks app. I built my own drink and checked the nutrition (fat content ok, sugars not so good), then let Starbucks use my location and set the store as a favorite. From the store screen, you can get directions, call, or invite a friend from your contact list by text, with the address of the store. You can store details of friends’ drinks (handy for office runs), and share the drink you build via Bluetooth or e-mail. May sound gimmicky but it’s actually utilitarian. There’s also a first-time bonus offer on the card reloads: use a Visa, add $25 and get an extra $5.



All it does is encode the card number in a 2d barcode. There is no security to keep someone from spoofing a card number that is not theirs and buying coffee or a very nice home espresso maker.

Check out http://www.mocapay.com for a secure workable solution.

Drew Hull

Another step in the evolution from phone to digital wallet! The time when we use our phones to pay for everything because they are connected to our bank accounts, debit cards, credit cards and retailer specific loyalty programs are not far off!
I hope the mobile banking experts are watching this closely.


Richard Eicher, Sr.

Kudos to Starbucks and their providers.

There may be other obstacles but I doubt they'll have any trouble with the scanning piece.

Based on extensive testing with industry-standard optical scanners, we found many read ‘on-mobile’ 2D barcodes quickly and accurately. [Note: Our tests were not conducted for the Starbucks App.]

Our testing was conducted using our 2D MMS Platform to deliver both QR and Data Matrix codes (with associated multimedia content) to a wide variety of smart phones and feature phones – even those with low resolution screens.

As an increasing number of retailers deploy optical scanners at the POS we'll see a greater demand for mCommerce Apps and for 2D messaging of machine readable coupons, payments, transaction receipts, loyalty rewards, etc.

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