24. July 2012–
By the end of October, Starbucks coffee-lovers in Germany will be able to pay for their caffeine hit via a smartphone app. For customers without smartphones the coffee chain is also introducing cashless payment via loyalty cards from the first of August. The new payment methods allow Starbucks customers to load money onto their account via credit card or cash as soon as they’ve registered themselves online or in a Starbucks branch.
While the loyalty card functions similarly to an EC-card, the smartphone app uses a barcode scanner for transactions.
Germany has typically been slow on the uptake of cashless payment, especially in comparison to the USA where the practice has become commonplace. According to Starbucks, the introduction of cashless payment will lead to less waiting time for customers. The company will also gain valuable information about customer preferences from their saved purchases.
However, the system is not without its drawbacks. If other business follow in Starbucks’ lead and only offer individual payment apps or cards, rather than an integrated payment system, the scheme will become impractical for consumers.
Supporting the roll-out of cashless payment, Europe-based mobile payment platform iZettle is expanding to include Android devices. iZettle has developed a mini chip card dongle for Android phones alongside the existing iPhone and iPad support. The device is currently being tested by Samsung Galaxy S II, SIII and Galaxy Note owners in Sweden, with the company planning on making the chip available across all iZettle markets in the near future.
Image credit: Flickr user Elvert Barnes