7,000 Starbucks Locations Added to the Square Wallet

Starbucks is now accepting Square’s mobile payment application at about 7,000 of its stores, as part of a wide-ranging agreement between the two companies.

The rollout is right on schedule, coming just three months after the partnership was announced in August. Now Starbucks customers will have two options for paying without ever having to pull their wallet out of their purse or pants pocket.

Starbucks customers already tend to be early adopters of mobile payments, using the Seattle coffee merchant’s apps more than two million times each week across both iOS and Android.

There are a few differences between the two experiences. The Starbucks-branded app card requires users to load a prepaid card that is stored on the phone. In contrast, the Square app allows users to pay using a debit or credit card. The Starbucks app also allows consumers to earn reward, but the Square app will not. Either way, a barcode is displayed on the smartphone screen and is scanned by a reader at the register. The Square Wallet is more multipurpose, given that it can be used to pay at other participating restaurants or merchants.

The addition of a marquee name like Starbucks is a big deal for San Francisco-based Square, which was founded by Twitter’s Jack Dorsey. Square obviously needs to raise its profile among consumers and sign up more merchants if it wants to become the dominant mobile payments system. However, the arrangement doesn’t end at the register. Starbucks also invested $25 million in Square’s last funding, totaling $200 million, and its CEO, Howard Schultz, joined the private company’s board. Starbucks is also slowly switching over its back-end payment systems to Square, which will eventually be processing all of Starbucks’ U.S. credit and debit card transactions.

Customers can download the Square wallet from the respective markets on iOS or Android. If they have already downloaded the wallet, the Starbucks locations will appear automatically.


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