How to Pay With Your iPhone at Starbucks

By , Feb 1, 2011

Did you know Starbucks has its own app with the ability to process payments through any iDevice at Starbucks locations throughout the U.S? The “Starbucks Card Mobile” app allows for the purchase of Starbucks goods through a prepaid “My Starbucks Rewards” card – straight on the iPhone.

The My Starbucks Rewards card operates like a prepaid gift card. Instead of paying with cash or a credit card, customers can reload and use the same Starbucks gift card to receive special discounts and perks.

If you have a Starbucks card, you can now use the Mobile Card app to make purchases at Starbucks locations. Here’s how it works…

The Setup:

You’ll need a Starbucks gift card to pay for your drinks. This card will act as your refillable Starbucks “tab” that you use to accumulate “stars.” Each time your card is used, another star is added to your Starbucks account. When you reach a certain amount of stars, new rewards and discounts become available to you (such as, free shots and pumps, refills, etc.).

Once you get 30 gold stars, your card is updated to “Gold” status. More discounts become available and you get more perks (such as, a free drink on your birthday and a drink on the house after every 15 purchases).

The Starbucks Card Mobile app is a free download in the App Store. This app will allow you to track your Starbucks card information, reload your card balance, and make mobile payments at participating Starbucks locations.

The App:

The Starbucks Card Mobile app will be the method for managing your Starbucks account. You will need to enter your registered Starbucks Rewards Card’s information into the app, and also provide a credit/debt card for reloading the card’s balance.

The app allows you to manage multiple cards at once and shows you what money you have on your card, with the ability to refresh and reload your balance. You can even set your account to auto-reload by automatically withdrawing from the credit card you set up within the app. (That can be dangerous if you’re an avid Starbucks drinker.)

The Starbucks Card Mobile app replaces paper receipts. You can view and record all of your account transactions within the app.

Your credit card information is set up in the app’s settings. Direct deposits can be made into your Starbucks Rewards account so that your card never runs dry.

Before you go to your local Starbucks to give this app a try, make sure to “Enable Payments” in the Payments window of the app. This will allow the Starbucks cashier access to use your iPhone for payment processing.

Once your card is set up in the Starbucks Card Mobile app and ready to go, you’re ready to pay at Starbucks with your iPhone!

The Purchase

I gave this mobile payment thing a try at my local Starbucks to see if it was as easy as it seemed.

Paying with your iPhone at Starbucks is pretty straightforward. Fire up the Mobile Card app while you’re waiting in line, and when it’s your turn, ask the cashier to use your iPhone app for payment.

In the app’s main “Cards” window, your gift card card is shown. Tap the “Touch to Pay” icon next to the card mockup and your card’s bar code will be available for scanning by the person checking you out.

When I tried this process, I simply handed my iPhone with the barcode enabled to the cashier and he scanned my iPhone’s screen with the card scanner at his register. The card scanned successfully even though I had a smudgy screen protector over my iPhone’s screen. The drink was instantly paid for with my prepaid card and there were no paper receipts. It worked wonderfully.

While this mobile payment isn’t groundbreaking, it does keep one more physical card out of your wallet. The initial setup takes the longest; after that it should be a quick and easy process.

The biggest problem with this payment method is that the Starbucks Card Mobile app has all of your credit card information. Luckily, you can set a password for the app in case you’re worried about your information being stolen. Just remember to do so if you give your banking information to the app.

You can read the rest of the Starbucks press statement about their mobile payment feature. I would also invite you to sign up for the My Starbucks Rewards program if you’re a Starbucks regular.

Now go enjoy that $4 cup of coffee.

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  • Ai

    Does it damage any of the internal components of the phone in the long run, to have the phone scanned?

    • K Henderson

      It’s an infrared light used for scanning, with an oscillating laser. The “light and dark” parts of the scanned image represent a wavelength pattern that is interpreted by the scanner. The amount of watts produced by the laser is less pertinent than UV light produced by the sun.

      K. Henderson – Engineer

      • K Henderson

        In other words it does nothing to the phone.

  • nutsjob

    I’ve had it since it came out.. Been using it since.. Love it.. And the sack part doesn’t damage anything lol . Good question though … I’m alread a gold member.. Free drinks on my b.day hehe … Seriously it’s been useful a lot of time I don’t have my wallet on me cuz it’s in the car, so technically I don’t have the gift fed so I just use the phone… I always get the Starbucks ppl saying.. “omg I love this” hehe chicks dig it lol … My wife has the card so we both use the same card number ya know. This way I know she can get Starbucks with her friends or alone nd I’ll know she will have money for it. … Payments work on the spot. No need to go to the ATM or anything. It’s awesome. I recommend it…

  • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

    Nice article alex. I was going to try this out last week, but I had a party waiting on me, and couldn’t figure out how to load my card in time. (I never use Starbucks giftcards). I’m going to have to give this a shot soon.

  • moimoimoimoi

    Hollow Apple Dork Glossy Pretty graphics + Starbucks “I Wannabe a coffee snob and I support only ‘holistic’ ideals because I am holier then thou” + “No true regard for the real sanctity of life attitude == awful stink!

    • http://www.iphonedownloadblog.com Jeff

      I’m not too fond of their coffee. They have great sweets though.

  • Jason masters

    Their cofee is total shit dunkin donuts is way better than their crap.
    Dunkin donuts should have an app instead of the pretentious fucks at starfucks and if you use this app and walk into Starbucks and spend all that money just to look cool your a pretentious fuck too! Wow you have found a way to waste more money on useles. Shit for jailbreakers and people pirating apps I doubt Starbucks is the coffee shop of choice shame on you Jeff for promoting this crap store….

  • Joel Bean

    why don’t i have the paypal option? i have and use the latest version of the app. 2.25 for a grande cup of coffee with free refils is a great deal in hawaii (waikiki).
    snow not included.

    • Joel Bean

      nevermind

  • Rebecca Pearson

    Can you use this app in uk starbucks or is it only in the US atm?

  • K burns

    Instead of paying with your gift card or your credit card, can you pay with cash and still get the stars?

  • K burns

    Can you pay with cash and still get the stars? Please answer if you can, thank you.