There is no use denying: I've been a big fan of Starbucks' coffees for many years and have had a Starbucks Gold card ever since it came out. But I was intrigued to learn a few weeks ago that Starbucks announced Starbucks Card Mobile - an iPhone app that lets you enter your Starbucks card# on the iPhone and you can then use that app to not only check your card balance, but also to pay at certain select Starbucks locations. These test locations are currently only in the Seattle and Silicon Valley areas, and since I am staying in San Francisco for Oracle World this week and met with some friends in the Valley for brunch yesterday, I headed to a Starbucks in Mountain View before driving back to the city.
The iPhone app has a nicely designed user interface and is extremely easy to use. When you are ready to pay, you start the app, enter a PIN code and hit the "Touch to Pay" button. Then you wave your iPhone in front of the scanner of the register at the checkout while it displays this screen.
Once you are done, you hit the "Touch when done" button and the app returns to the balance screen, where you can immediately see the balance after your payment has been processed.
And you can also get a journal of all recent transactions on your card - both those done via the iPhone app and does that were completed using the regular Gold Card in stores that don't yet accept the iPhone app.
All I can say is that this app makes total sense. No more digging for your wallet and fidgeting with the plastic card. Instead - since I use the iPhone all the time when standing in line - I just open the app and wave my iPhone at the scanner to pay. Very cool. I hope Starbucks rolls this out in stores all across the country soon....