Starbucks Announces More Details Regarding Square Mobile Payments
Starbucks announced in August plans to support Square’s mobile payment platform, and this week at their Global Leadership conference Starbucks announced an actual rollout timeline.
Starbucks plans to have 7,000 locations using Square’s mobile payment app by early November. Starbucks will continue to improve their own mobile payment solution through the Starbucks app as well in addition to the recently announced Passbook support.
The Square adoption will take some time, as the initial rollout will not support Square’s loyalty program, geo-fencing and “pay by name.” All of these features are the program roadmap though. Those worrying that the features may never show up, should take into consideration the $25 million Starbucks invested in Square. Starbucks has a vested interest to make sure Square works, and it works well.
The big problems will arise when less tech-savvy customers are given payment options of their Starbucks card, and the Square app (for debit/credit cards). Then, when Square’s loyalty program is finally integrated into the checkout process, users will have to decide between Square and Apple’s Passbook which supports Starbucks card integration.
Starbucks claims they’re prepared to support both programs and that there are no plans to retire the Starbucks mobile app. Starbucks has even decided to implement “digital-tipping” in both Square and their mobile app.
While choices in the marketplace should spur innovation and be better for consumers, in such a fledgling market the potential for confusion between proprietary store-based mobile payment solutions, third-party solutions like Square, Google Wallet, and Passbook could lead to a gigantic mobile payment mess. Especially if companies like Starbucks support payment methods that do the exact same thing.