Starbucks Launches iPhone App with Mobile Barcode Payments

Jan 05, 12 Starbucks Launches iPhone App with Mobile Barcode Payments

Today Starbucks released a new iPhone app that enables customers to pay in store using their iPhone. It works by linking the customer’s Starbucks card to the app and providing a barcode which is then scanned at the till. The US has had this app for a while but it is only just being launched in the UK at over 700 stores. Read more about the app on the Starbucks site here:

What is interesting is that this is one of the first apps to use barcodes for payments rather than NFC technology, which is becoming very popular on Android devices. Some are saying that Apple is looking to launch an NFC rival using barcodes instead, but given that the adoption of QR codes has been pretty slow, this doesn’t seem likely. Plus, anyone that’s every used QR codes or similar barcodes will know that there is a fairly large margin for error, with some taking several attempts before a successful scan. When you compare this to the relatively painless task of swiping an NFC phone on a reader, it’s clear that Apple would have to be taking a rather large risk to choose the clunky barcode option.

It will be interesting to see how this app takes off, and whether other companies will adopt this method of payment instead of NFC.

You can download the new app from the iTunes store here:



  1. Starbucks like to start new trends, I think a lot of other brands will follow suit with mobile payments soon.

  2. Starbucks Mobile Pay is linked to a prepaid card and I, as many others, just don’t want to be using such cards. There is no reason anyone who can get a credit card should use a prepaid one, which has no effect on your credit score and gives you no rewards. Moreover, why should I get any payment card, which can only be use at Starbucks? If I did that, I should probably do the same for Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and many others? Where would that end? It simply makes no sense to me.

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