Futurists have long predicted that one day, shoppers will swipe cellphones instead of credit cards to make purchases. At Starbucks stores nationwide, that is becoming a reality.
On Wednesday, Starbucks announced that customers of the 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and the 1,000 that are in Target storeswill be able to pay for their lattes with their cellphones instead of pulling out cash or a credit card.
Various technology and payments companies, including PayPal, Bling Nation, Square, Venmo and now-deceased dot-com start-ups have been experimenting with ways to wean Americans off cash, credit cards or both.
But the introduction of mobile payments in Starbucks stores may be the most mainstream example yet.
Owners of BlackBerrys, iPhones or iPod Touches can use them to pay by downloading the free Starbucks Card app and holding their phones in front of a scanner at Starbucks cash registers. There is no Starbucks app for Android phones, although the company said it was working on one. The money is subtracted from their Starbucks account, which they can load with credit cards or, on iPhones, with PayPal funds.