Starbucks app will let shoppers pay for coffee with cell phones

Starbucks is announcing an app today that it will let shoppers buy coffee at its stores nationwide with cell phones instead of credit cards or gift cards.

The New York Times reported that Starbucks will allow the purchases in 6,800 company stores in the U.S. and 1,000 more that are inside Target Stores. Hopefully, you can now get that “grande mocha” even faster, since you won’t have to fumble through your wallet or purse anymore.

The development could herald the arrival of mobile payments in the mainstream. The technology has been used for some time with cell phones in Japan, where near-field communications chips are built into many phones. The New York Times didn’t say precisely what technology is being used. But whatever technology the Starbucks app uses, it’s one more step that could wean Americans from cash.

Owners of BlackBerrys, iPhones or iPod Touches can pay by downloading the free Starbucks Card app and holding their phones in front of a scanner at a cash register. The money is debited from the account, which can be credited via credit card. On the iPhone, users can load their account with PayPal funds. Starbucks says a third of its customers already have smartphones and that this new method will be the fastest way to pay. Hopefully, hackers won’t crack this payment system really fast.

Check out the video below.

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