Starbucks: Mobile payments top 42M, new m-commerce services brewing

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Starbucks has processed more than 42 million mobile payments since launching its Starbucks Card Mobile App in early 2011, up from 27 million last December, the coffeehouse chain told VentureBeat.

The Starbucks Card Mobile App connects to the consumer's prepaid Starbucks Card account, enabling iPhone, Android and BlackBerry users to pay for their order by holding their smartphone in front of a countertop scanner and processing the app's on-screen barcode. The service is available across 7,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the U.S. and more than 1,000 Target locations; Starbucks recently began rolling out the app to Canada and the U.K., also extending mobile payment options to drive-thru window orders.

Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman said the company continues to trial in-store mobile commerce technologies in its R&D lab. "We want to innovate in that area before others catch up," Brotman added.

The proprietary Starbucks Card Mobile App faces competition from the Near Field Communications-based Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Wallet tap-and-pay application, which enables Android smartphone users to purchase products, redeem coupons and earn rewards points from select retail partners such as American Eagle Outfitters, The Container Store, Foot Locker, Guess, Jamba Juice, Macy's, OfficeMax and Toys"R"Us. Isis, a nationwide m-commerce network spearheaded by AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and T-Mobile USA, will begins trials in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas, later this year.

Last month, The Wall Street Journal reported Starbucks Card Mobile App partner Target is teaming with Walmart and about two dozen other retailers to develop their own mobile payment system. Few details of the effort are known, but sources say the retailers are unhappy with the inroads being made by Google and the Isis operators and want to get an upper hand in the fast-moving mobile payments space.

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