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Starbucks now accepting payments through iPhone app


The world's largest purveyor of coffee with that just-burnt taste, Starbucks, is now accepting payments at company-owned outlets throughout the United States with their free Starbucks Card Mobile iPhone app.

We've covered the green lady's apps before, and it was about eight months ago that the company expanded a small pilot program in Seattle and Silicon Valley to all of their caffeine-dispensing outlets in US Target stores. Now you can pay for your Venti Double-Shot Caramel Macchiato by simply waving your iPhone -- loaded with the Starbucks app -- at that emo teenage barista who is trying very hard to look intellectual and off-put.

The payment system doesn't use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to send your bank account numbers to Starbucks headquarters. Instead, the app is linked to your Starbucks Card account, and you use it to display a barcode that is unique to your account. Point that at the scanner in your Starbucks, and your digital wallet becomes magically lighter.

Starbucks Cards, whether digital or physical, are no small hill of Arabica coffee beans -- the company reported that $1.5 billion in jittery transactions were made in 2010 alone. Apple and Starbucks have had a long, happy relationship, with Starbucks offering a free iTunes "Pick of the Week" in 2008 and Phil Schiller showing off an early prototype of the Starbucks Card Mobile app on stage at an Apple event.

A short, musical video touting the Starbucks digital payment option is on the next page. Now excuse me, I need to get a fresh cup of joe from my Keurig.

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