Starbucks Now Lets Canadians Pay For Coffee With Their iPhone

iPhone-wielding, Gingerbread-latte-loving people of the world, rejoice!

Starbucks is marrying tech and coffee with its latest iPhone app update. In addition to iOS5 support and all the same features it had before such as the store locator, job finder, and drink builder, the app now supports mobile payments in Canada—and, because it turns your iPhone into a caffeine-hungry wallet, the app also offers passcode protection.

You may notice, however, that this seems strange. After all, new BlackBerry and Android devices have NFC technology embedded, but the iPhone doesn't. And yet the BlackBerry and Android apps have not been updated to support mobile payments and won't be for many months. Isn't this a little backward?

Well, as it turns out, NFC isn't necessary with the system Starbucks devised. Basically, one adds their registered Starbucks loyalty card to the app, which in turn creates a custom barcode. When a Starbucks barista rings up your order, they simply scan your barcode and the balance is reduced appropriately. 

Perhaps that was easier for Starbucks than working with NFC. Or perhaps they just have a lot of iPhone users relative to the other platforms. Or perhaps both.

Photo: Food Queen Media

Seattle, Washington, United States

It happens millions of times each week – a customer receives a drink from a Starbucks barista – but each interaction is unique. It’s just a moment in time – just one hand reaching over the counter to present a cup to another outstretched hand. But it’s a connection. We make sure everything we do honors that connection – from our commitment to the highest quality coffee in the world, to the way... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes and author of Tempest Bound. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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