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Starbucks and Square push mobile payments forward

Starbucks recently announced it has inked a deal with electronic payment service Square Inc. The international coffee chain will begin processing U.S. card transactions through smartphones using Square’s payment platform this autumn.

Such a deal will work wonders for start-up Square’s visibility, as its technology will be present in every Starbucks across the U.S. Equally, Starbucks will benefit from more agile payments systems that use mobile devices instead of having to invest in complex point of sale systems.

Starbucks is no stranger to mobile payments. The coffee chain has already been using its own in-house mobile payments technology via Smartphone apps over the last year.  Their application has processed 42 million transactions since its launch. Starbuck’s own in-house payment solution and Square’s will run parallel alongside each other, but it is expected that all mobile payments will likely be moved to Square’s technology eventually.

Square’s move to partner with Starbucks could be the catalyst its business needs to expand into other establishments. It could also be the move which brings mobile payments to wider public knowledge. However, it will be the customers who decide if this venture is truly a success. Are customers comfortable with storing payment information on their phone? How many customers are technical enough to understand the technology? Will it help them get their cappuccinos and macchiatos faster?

The growth of mobile payments is expected to continue climbing over the next few years. While there are a number of debates still being had by the Smart Card Alliance concerning the direction in which technology is taking, Starbucks have made another monumental move towards a mobile payments utopia.

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