Is your phone becoming the new wallet?: Starbucks Card Mobile App

By Donna Ho, (@donnatho)

The next time you grab a venti latte at your favorite Starbucks joint, instead of reaching for your wallet to pay, you can now reach for your phone. That’s right— coffee addicts rejoice. Starbucks recently released a new application, which will make your next trip to the famous coffee shop quicker and more efficient. The Starbucks Card Mobile for iPhone, iPad, and Blackberry, introduced nationwide earlier this year, allows you to enter your Starbucks card number and pay with your phone right at the register by simply waving a barcode in front of a card mobile scanner. The coffee chain’s new app is just one example of the growing mobile payment system trend we’ve been seeing lately.

AT&T and Verizon Wireless were some of the first U.S. major mobile carriers to implement this contact-less payment technology, that some argue, threatens credit and debit card companies such as MasterCard and Visa, which use a similar pay-by-wave system. Bank of America is another company that also recently introduced the Mobile Wallet trial program for selected customers to participate. The technology allows you to make purchases by tapping a Blackberry device on a credit card machine at select retailers. While these companies are using NFC mobile payment technology, Starbucks is actually using its own custom-built technology to enable the 2-D mobile barcode scans.

Now that is new app is available, will those long lines in the morning go by faster? Will our Smartphones soon replace our wallets? Either way, with the growing mobile banking and mobile payment trends, it seems that controlling your finances will soon become more readily available at your fingertips. With a coffee in one hand and your Smartphone in the other— what else could you ask for?

There seems to be an app for just about any possible situation these days. From finding the closest sushi spot to checking your bank account balance, we are becoming more reliant on our phones to do everything for us. As a devoted iPhone user, I admit that I’d be lost without it—literally. The thought of not having a map with step-by-step directions and a highlighted GPS-enabled route handy is completely foreign to me. Leaving home without my precious iPhone is like leaving home without my wallet. Although I still have yet to try the Starbucks Card Mobile app, I’m definitely intrigued and look forward to testing it out for an upcoming coffee run.


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