Starbucks expands pay-by-iPhone pilot to 1,000 stores

Starbucks Card Mobile App displays a barcode that iPhone, iPod touch owners can use to pay

Starbucks customers with Apple iPhones or iPod touches can now flash their mobile devices at more than 1,000 locations to purchase their coffee or other items.

Starbucks announced an expansion of a mobile payment application pilot project yesterday to 1,002 stores inside of Target stores.

The pilot for the Starbucks Card Mobile App started last September at 16 company-operated stores in Seattle and Northern California, and was successful enough to expand further, a spokeswoman said.

No plans have been announced for further expansion to more than 11,000 Starbucks in the U.S., and any expansion will depend on customer and employee satisfaction, she added.

Target has been a Starbucks licensee for more than 10 years, and has a strong relationship that made it a good candidate for the mobile payment expansion.

The Starbucks payment app, free on Apple's App Store, allows a customer to place money on a Starbucks card using a credit card. To make a purchase, a user passes their iPhone or iPod touch, which displays a unique Starbucks Card Mobile barcode on its screen, over a barcode reader at the Starbucks payment counter.

Starbucks describes the app in this short video. (Click arrow button to play video. Adobe Flash is required. Some browsers may require two clicks to start the video.)

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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