Starbucks processed 26m mobile payments this year

Coffee shop chain Starbucks claims that it has processed 26m mobile payments since launching its Mobile Pay system in the US at the beginning of this year, with the firm proving itself to be one of the most successful early adopters of the relatively young NFC payments technology. According to the firm, it has processed 6m of these transactions in the last nine weeks alone – with payments growing nearly twice as fast as in the first nine weeks after it was released. The news bodes well for the manufacturers, carriers, payment companies and retailers who are investing millions into getting the mobile payments infrastructure off the ground.

Starbucks’ payment app is available for smartphones running on Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating system. Users can load funds onto a digital branded Starbucks card and scan a barcode on the back to pay for goods at around 9,000 stores in the US. Launching in Canada last month, the service is now expected to come to the UK at the beginning of next year. According to the firm, some USD2.4bn has already been loaded onto the cards using the app.

Starbucks signed an agreement with Barclaycard, in partnership with Visa Europe, earlier this year that will allows consumers to pay for goods costing up to £15 (USD24.26) by scanning their contactless credit or debit card over a payment terminal. The firm has already adopted other payment technologies including Facebook Deals and coupons, as it looks to get an edge on its competitors.

“We’re already out there as the largest retailer doing mobile payments,” says Starbucks digital ventures VP and GM, Adam Brotman. “To take that step and roll out [mobile payments], see it adopted and then see it double…that trend is very exciting to us.” Although Starbucks is not breaking out the exact number of customers who are making payments using their smartphones, he says that the figure is in the “millions”.

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