Starbucks Brews Up a Winner: Merging Prepaid Cards With the iPhone

starbucks-logo Starbucks continues to be an innovator in the prepaid debit space. Several years ago, they introduced their Duetto Visa Card, which merged a co-branded credit card with the Starbucks prepaid card onto one piece of plastic. Now, they’ve pushed things even further with the introduction of their new iPhone app: the “Starbucks Card Mobile“.

Here’s how it works. If you are an iPhone user and have a Starbucks card account, go to the iPhone app center and download the Starbucks Card Mobile app and register your Starbucks card account on the app. Then, go to a participating Starbucks location (in the beta launch, there are only 16 stores participating, 8 in Seattle, and 8 in Silicon Valley), and run the app while you are in line. Place your order, and when you are ready to pay, simply hold the display of your iPhone under a scanner.

The Starbucks Card Mobile app generates a bar code that represents your Starbucks Card account number, and the scanner reads the bar code to identify your account number. Once the account number is read, the money for your purchase is debited from your Starbucks card account, and you are done.

You can do other things with your Starbucks Card Mobile app as well. For example, the app makes it easy for you to check your card balance and reload your card.

We predict that this app is going to be a big hit, and expect to see other prepaid debit applications on the iPhone shortly. Great job Starbucks!

You can download the Starbucks Card Mobile app here, and you can buy a Starbucks prepaid debit card here.  The Starbucks prepaid debit cards are “closed loop” debit cards that can only be used at Starbucks.  The cards are reloadable, so once you get a card, you can continue to reload it with value so you never have to go a day without your half-caf, double latte (full caf for me, thanks).

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