At long last, the Starbucks stores in NYC are going to start accepting mobile payments via the Starbucks card iPhone app. Payment happens by scanning at the register a high resolution barcode that gets displayed on your iPhones screen. The app is linked directly to your Starbucks online account, and updates the balance in real time – actually, in my testing it out a few weeks ago, I found that often times the app updates the card balance before the Starbucks register even finishes printing out the receipt.
Between this initiative, and the MTA’s willingness to pilot a large scale Master Card Pay Pass test program, the city seems to be well on the way to eliminating the need to carry actual cards. Once RFID chips start getting built into upcoming cell phones, and/or optical scanners capable of reading high res barcodes off mobile phone screens become more commonplace, I’d love to see physical card carrying go away.
Update 2010-11-15 ***
Here it is,Eric Schmidt shows off the first NFC-Enabled Android Phone
Update 2011-03-28 – Starbucks Card Mobile sees 3 million caffeine-hungry users
tarbucks now offers the nation’s largest mobile payment network,” vice president of Starbucks Brady Brewer added later in the meeting.
The Starbucks mobile payments offering is a “touch to pay” system. It allows the customer to hold up the app’s barcode to the in-store scanner at the register to pay using the electronic tender. The program was piloted at select stores in September 2009. After extensive testing, it was found to be the fastest way for customers to pay.
The past financial quarter was the best performing in the 40-year history of the company, according to Schultz. Starbucks cards now account for 22% of all transactions, he says.