I’ll Have an App with That

Cash may be king—but not if you like free coffee and sandwiches from Starbucks. Today, if you want rewards, points, discounts or anything free, mobile payment is the way to go. My dad is a perfect example of how and why this is. Here’s a guy who held out on using a smartphone until 2013. For years, he’d pay cash for his Starbucks coffee and religiously hand over his card to the barista for another credit toward that next free cup. Then, the baristas started to veer to clients to using their Starbucks app, with promises of more discounts and free stuff. My dad got his first iPhone 5 and wonders how he survived without it. Once he downloaded his first mobile payment app, he realized how much “free” he was missing out on.

USA Today reports:

Starbucks is producing more than three million mobile payments per week. That, says [Starbucks CEO] Schultz, exceeds the combined mobile payments of the next 10 companies closest to Starbucks. “This will result in a much deeper experience with our customers,” he says.”

That experience IS people like my dad, who plans his trip to Starbucks to get free stuff.

For consumers, that will mean much more one-to-one marketing, says Schultz. That is, specific deals and promos could be specially targeted to individual consumers based on their buying habits. Sooner than later, Schultz projects, regular customers might not even have to belly-up to the bar to order. Rather, based on the information on a mobile phone app that they’re carrying, they could be “recognized” as being in the store—and baristas will have the option to start preparing their usual favorites, without them ever having to actually order.

Starbucks has cracked the code in the evolving mobile payment market, and others are quickly joining in. Head to your favorite app store and search for “mobile payment,” or see what your favorite e-tailer or retailer has to offer.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures