Will Starbucks New Pay-By-Phone Simplify Your Experience?

Starbucks customers can pay for their lattes with cellphones. Will this make checkout easier or lead to app overload by 2012?

Article first published as New Starbucks Pay-By-Phone, Will The Experience Take Off? on Technorati.

A long awaited and predicted move from cards to phone payments is finally hitting the US today. Starbucks announces Pay-By-Phone is now available at their 6,800 stores the company operates in the United States and the 1,000 that are in Target stores.

Customers are now able to pay for their lattes with cellphones instead of pulling out cash or a swiping credit cards by using Starbucks mobile app.

This long predicted piece of the future of retail was intended to simplify the customer experience, so shoppers wouldn’t have to carry so many cards and keep up with membership rewards numbers in their wallets and so on.

Will this simplify the experience or lead to app overload?

With Starbucks and so many other companies releasing their own mobile apps and Starbucks integrating pay-by-phone into their app, it begs the question, will this simplify our experience or dive consumers into app overload if each retailer has their own mobile app?

Starbucks mobile app

Who will integrate payments by phone into a seamless, unified experience? Or, like our wallets today, will our phones become cluttered with apps, making it more of a pain to use a rewards app or pay-by-phone than just taking out that card and swiping it?

Many companies have been trying to get pay-by-phone off the ground in the US, but Starbucks is the most mainstream example to date. Efforts by PayPal, Bling Nation, Square, Venmo, pay-by-phone haven’t really taken off yet. But, perhaps the reason isn’t that American’s aren’t ready to pay with their phones, its that a company to integrate credit cards and rewards programs into one secure app has not come in to simplify the customer experience and make it easy for retailers integrate the offering with their existing systems.

How it works

Smartphone-toting Starbucks lovers can download the free Starbucks Card app, available on the iPhone, BlackBerry and iPod Touch. As customers scan their phones at Starbucks, the money will be subtracted from their pre-loaded Starbucks account. Customers will also be able to get rewards points and check their balances on the app.

Starbucks mobile app barcode

Starbucks is focused on smartphone owners, which it says make up a third of its customers.

“We’re providing them with the fastest way to pay,” Brady Brewer, Starbucks vice president for the Starbucks card and brand loyalty, said in a statement.