Starbucks ‘will continue to explore NFC’

Coffee giant Starbucks has announced that its mobile payment service, first introduced on a pilot basis in Seattle and Silicon Valley during September 2009, is to be rolled out across the US.

The decision to implement the mobile barcode-based service in all its 6,800 US outlets and its 1,000 concessions in Target stores doesn’t mean the company is uninterested in NFC, however, Starbucks’ Chuck Davidson has told TechNewsWorld:

“Starbucks is unwilling to wait for the NFC infrastructure in the US to reach critical mass before offering our customers the fastest way to pay,” Davidson said. “Starbucks will continue to explore NFC, but until a meaningful number of our customers have NFC-enabled mobiles, we remain focused on our current platform.”

Customers wishing to pay with their mobile phone at Starbucks first download a free Starbucks Card Mobile App that is available for the iPhone and iPod Touch as well as certain BlackBerry smartphones. Customers make a payment by holding their smartphone in front of a scanner on the countertop and then scanning the Starbucks Card Mobile App’s on-screen barcode to complete a purchase.

“More than one-third of US Starbucks customers use smartphones, of which nearly three quarters use BlackBerry smartphone or iPhone mobile devices,” the company explains. “In addition to the mobile payment capability, the app allows customers to manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card with any major credit card (iPhone users can also use the PayPal feature), check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby Starbucks store with the store locator feature.”

“Today, one in five Starbucks transactions is made using a Starbucks Card and mobile payment will extend the way our customers experience and use their Starbucks Card,” says Brady Brewer, vice president Starbucks Card and Brand Loyalty. “With mobile payment, the Starbucks Card platform further elevates the customer experience by delivering convenience, rewarding loyalty and continuing to build an emotional connection with our customers.”

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