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Coffee: Now Available Via Most Smartphones

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More consumers can now pay for a grande skim double caramel macchiato at Starbucks in less time than it takes to order it.

Starting today, Android phone owners can join iPhone and BlackBerry users in accessing Starbucks’ free mobile payment app, which pulls up a scannable barcode linked to a reloadable store card. The chain says customers made more than 3 million purchases using the app within the first three months of its January launch.

Users have more chances to use the app, too, as Starbucks adds the scanning technology to another 1,000 stores inside Safeway-chain supermarkets, which include Vons, Genuardi’s and other brands. By July, they estimate, 9,000 stores nationwide will be able to accept payment via app. (That includes 1,000 locations in Target stores.)

While Starbucks may be the first big chain to push pay-by-phone options on a national level, the robots haven’t won quite yet. Another free Starbucks app lets users build drinks, but doesn’t yet offer the ability to push that information to the baristas as an order. Ideally, that would be an option, and one that integrates with the payment app, says Brad Spirrison, the managing editor for app review site Appolicious.com. And then, as soon as your phone can make you a double grande skim frappucino, you won’t need a barista at all.

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About Pay Dirt

  • Pay Dirt examines the millions of consumer decisions Americans make every day: What to buy, how much to pay, whether to rave or complain. Lead written by Quentin Fottrell, the blog examines these interactions, providing readers with news, insight and tips on shopping, spending, customer service, and companies that do right – and wrong – by their customers. Send items, questions and comments to quentin.fottrell@dowjones.com or tweet @SMPayDirt.