The age of the mobile phone e-wallet begins…
Apple is driving another change.
It’s only a matter of time where payments for purchases will be something automatic by a secure non-contact radio transmission through a device just about everyone has in their pocket. The mobile phone as a walking e-wallet.
Rumors of NFC- or RFID-equipped iPhones have been circulating for some time, and Apple has also filed several patent applications related to the technology while also hiring several employees known to be experts in the field. One such employee, Benjamin Vigier, joined Apple last year, bringing extensive experience in NFC and other mobile payment technologies, including having developed the current Starbucks mobile payment system while working at mFoundry.
A QR code app is the the first step in that transition, and Starbucks just announced it…
To experience mobile payment at Starbucks, customers just need to download the free Starbucks Card Mobile App for select BlackBerry smartphones, iPhone or iPod touch mobile devices. More than one-third of U.S. Starbucks customers use smartphones, of which nearly three quarters use BlackBerry smartphone or iPhone mobile devices. In addition to the mobile payment capability, the app allows customers to manage their Starbucks Card account, check their card balance, reload their card with any major credit card (iPhone users can also use the PayPal feature), check their My Starbucks Rewards status and find a nearby Starbucks store with the store locator feature.
Customers can pay with their smartphone by holding their mobile device in front of a scanner on the countertop and scan the Starbucks Card Mobile App’s on-screen barcode to make a purchase. Customers have successfully adopted this technology in test markets in Seattle, Northern California, New York and more than 1,000 Starbucks in U.S. Target stores.
Like anything in technology, the issue of security will be one to overcome. A QR code, which is nothing more than a pattern showing up on the screen and similar to a barcode on mushrooms is a safe first step to get people used to the concept.
Pretty neat. And another reason to avoid standing behind someone in a checkout line with a checkbook in their hands.