Starbucks extends mobile payments to 7,500 stores
System scans barcodes installed on iPhone, BlackBerry smartphones for coffee payments
Computerworld - Starbucks on Wednesday began allowing iPhone, iPod Touch and BlackBerry mobile payments for its coffee at thousands of its stores.
Starbucks launched a pilot of the mobile payment program last year at more than 1,000 of its shops that were located inside Target stores and some company-owned stores in San Francisco, Seattle and elsewhere.
The Starbucks mobile payment system allows customers to hold a smartphone displaying a two dimensional barcode for reading by a scanner installed at Starbucks cash registers.
The smartphone links wirelessly to a person's Starbucks card, which is backed with a credit card. The Starbucks card, when depleted, can be reloaded from the phone.
Another payment technology, Near Field Communications, allows mobile payments through short-range radio communications, but NFC is its infancy in the U.S. despite its wider use in Japan and other countries.
Some reports said the rollout will be to 6,800 company-owned Starbucks in the U.S., but the Starbucks Web site puts the number at more than 7,500 of its stores in the U.S., including Target stores.
Starbucks is working on an Android application for its card, but officials could not be reached to discuss a timeline.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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