In Japan you’ve been able to pay for goods with your cellphone for a while. But starting today you can do the same thing int he US… at least at Starbucks. Since last time I checked, Starbucks covers roughly 57 percent* of the square footage of most metropolitan areas, that’s a pretty good start.
Here’s how it works. You install the free Starbucks Card Mobile App for BlackBerry or iOS, load up your account with cash (using PayPal or a credit card account), and walk into any of the 7500** Starbucks location in the US and flash your mobile app at the cashier. They’ll scan your phone’s screen to bill your account.
On the off chance that you don’t randomly stumble across a half dozen Starbucks locations in the course of your day already, you can also use the app to find nearby stores.
In the future, we may all use NFC, or Near Field Communications technology allowing you to just bring your phone near the cash register to pay. For now, scanning bar codes on the mobile app are about as close as we’re going to get in the States.
* This is not a real statistic.
** Believe it or not, this is a real figure.