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I reached out to Starbucks for some clarification on how its new partnership with mobile payments vendor Square will work. Here are the answers from Starbucks spokesman Zack Hutson.
Rocky Agrawal: Will Starbucks be installing the Square dongle at POS and processing transactions through that or using existing POS systems?
Zack Hutson: Starbucks will not have Square Card Readers or Square Register at the point-of-sale at this time. Square will integrate with Starbucks POS so that card payments are handled by Square. We are always looking for innovative ways to enhance the customer experience and operational efficiencies. However, we do not have plans for implementing the readers in this way at this time.
RA: Does this affect existing Starbucks stored-value products, or does it only apply to credit and debit transactions?
ZH: This is for all credit and debit card transactions – including when you load money onto the Starbucks stored-value card.
RA: Will consumers who make purchases with credit or debit cards (not Pay with Square) have the option for email receipts as they do at other Square merchants?
RA: Is Starbucks committed to any marketing of Pay with Square?
ZH: Customers will be able to use Pay with Square at approximately 7,000 Starbucks locations. Starbucks locations will be listed in the Square Directory.
RA: Does this mean any changes to the existing Starbucks Mobile apps?
ZH: Starbucks will continue to offer customers its own mobile payment applications, enhanced with My Starbucks Rewards benefits. However, for current customers using Pay with Square, this opens up a new way to pay at Starbucks.
RA: What proportion of Starbucks transactions are currently done on the mobile apps?
ZH: We don’t break that out but can tell you that we have more than 1 million mobile payment transactions per week in the US.
RA: If someone uses Pay with Square, does he still get credit toward the Starbucks loyalty program, or does that only work with the Starbucks app?
ZH: At this time, Pay with Square will be a separate payment option from the Starbucks mobile payment applications, which are integrated with the My Starbucks Rewards program. Our goal is to eventually integrate My Starbucks Rewards into the Pay with Square payment option.
So, for die hard Starbucks junkies, it seems the best bet in the short term is to pay with your Starbucks card or the Starbucks mobile app.
The Square implementation for Starbucks is a custom implementation that doesn’t incorporate the things that Square has been known for: the dongle, the iPhone and iPad apps at the merchant, signing with your finger, or the Square Register.
[Top image credit: Square]