Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Starbucks Mobile Card ... Perhaps What's Next in Payments

...or an example of something that meets the criteria...
People are always asking me, what is the next big thing in payments?
It is easy to identify the unlikely candidates, the pattern is common.

But, when something resonates immediately, you gotta give it an atta boy!

I am a recent iPhone convert and one of the apps I downloaded was the Starbuck's Mobile Card. I already was carrying a Starbuck's pre-paid card and had an existing account at and had registered the card. I often exchange my Wells Fargo Visa card points for those cards.

Yesterday, I was in the heart of Silicon Valley and stopped for a quick meeting at the Starbuck's on DeAnza (near Apple HQ). I noticed the POP signage for the new payment trial and decided to try it. The clerk was well versed and enthusiastic about me using it. With iPhone already in hand (where it is most of the time), I clicked on the app. Since it was my first useage there was one extra step which the clerk took care of with one touch to the screen. Then the bar code showed up on the phone screen and by simply putting it in front of the reader on the counter, the transaction was done!