Use your iPhone to pay for your Starbucks in the UK

Screen Shot 2012 01 04 at 16 57 30

Thank you to reader Iain Mercer who emailed this morning about Starbucks. As a loyal fan of Starbucks filter coffee, Iain has using their reward card enthusiastically along with the hundreds of thousands of other caffeine addicted Brits.

For a while now Iain’s been using the Starbucks iOS app to easily locate his nearest shop during his regular travels across the UK.

Now, however, things are going to get even more exciting from a geeky mobile perspective: Starting tomorrow, the update to the Starbucks iOS card will enable customers to use their iPhone to pay directly for drinks at all Starbucks outlets.

The email update that Iain forwarded me over from Starbucks contains this revealing sentence:

The good news keeps coming. If you have an iPhone, be sure to download our new app tomorrow. You’ll be able to scan your iPhone to pay for your favourite drink.

We’ll need to wait until tomorrow to see how Starbucks have integrated payments into the app.

This is rather exciting. It’s a potential landmark moment, I think, provided they make it super-simple to use. I’m sure they will. It’s Starbucks, after all.

If you sit back and think about the millions of iPhone users in the great metropolitan cities of the UK, a large proportion of them will regularly visit Starbucks. I don’t think it will take long for even your normob iPhone users (“normal mobile users”) to catch on to the coolness and convenience of simply waving/scanning your iPhone to pay for your coffee.

If correctly implemented, I think this could be a runaway success.

Paying for coffee is a flipping arse. You have to CONTINUALLY make sure you’ve got some sort of shrapnel (“coins”) or paper money on your person at all times lest you miss out on a caffeine fix. Or, you have to walk to the sodding cash point. And even if that’s just 15 seconds away, that’s a big no-no for lots of people when they’re working.

I hope that the payment mechanism will enable you to swiftly pay — there could be substantial efficiencies in the Starbucks queues if all you need to do is a quick 1-second scan to pay. Both you and the coffee chappy won’t need to mess around counting coins.

Let’s wait and see what tomorrow brings.

And if you’re a big Starbucks fan, make sure you get hold of the app. I think it’ll be this one (iTunes link) that’s updated tomorrow morning.

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