Starbucks Tries Mobile Payments

Coffee lovers can now flash Apple iPhones or iPod Touches to pay for lattes, pastries and other items at more than 1,000 Starbucks locations.

Last month, Starbucks Corp. announced that it was expanding a pilot test of a mobile payment system to 1,002 coffee shops inside Target stores.

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

But no plans have been announced for expansion to the rest of the more than 11,000 Starbucks locations in the U.S.

The Starbucks payment app -- which is available free of charge at Apple's App Store -- lets customers use a credit card to put money on a virtual Starbucks card. To make a purchase, a customer just waves an iPhone or iPod Touch, which has a unique bar code on its screen, over a bar code reader at the Starbucks payment counter.

This version of this story was originally published in Computerworld's print edition. It was adapted from an article that first appeared on

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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