Starbucks investing in Square, bringing mobile payments to US locations

Square, the trend-setting mobile payment system, has announced that they've been picked up by Starbucks. This fall, Starbucks will beging accepting mobile payments using Square throughout their 7,000 locations in the U.S. As noted on the Square blog:

It's amazing to think that Starbucks began as a single coffee shop in Seattle. The concept of taking a good idea and helping it grow is not foreign to them, and Starbucks doesn't just view Square as the simplest way to accept payments. They see an opportunity to extend and accelerate a model they grew up with: the idea that business is local and that community plays a vital role in job creation and economic vitality. When Starbucks builds the Square Directory into their apps and in-store Digital Network, it gives Square new visibility, driving more customers to opt-in to Square. And with nearly 7,000 Starbucks stores soon accepting Square, these new payers will be able to find your business (including coffeehouses) and pay with their name, building community and creating value.

In addition to that news, Square and Starbucks have also confirmed that Starbucks will invest $25 Million to help with Squares latest round of funding. Something that will surely help Square gain some advantage over competing companies that are now arising to take on mobile payment solutions.

For the past couple of years now Square has slowly been making it into the mainstream. Going full steam in 2010, they eventually launched their Square POS application for iOS with hopes to replace a traditional POS (point of sale) cash register with an iPad.

Overall, this new agreement between the two companies is a resounding nod of confidence in Square and their future in the mobile payments space while placing Starbucks at the forefront of that technology.

Source: Square

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Chris Parsons

Editor-at-Large at Mobile Nations, gadget junkie, energy drinker, ranter.

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Reader comments

Starbucks investing in Square, bringing mobile payments to US locations


I do not personally use any mobile payment solutions myself, but I have been looking into it for a small side business I have. In most reviews I've read, no one recommends Square. It's not that they tell you not to use them, the reviews just suggest other solutions as better choices. They are always 3-4 down on the list.

I use Square to run PXLFIX and I personally love it. I know several businesses that use it and all would highly recommend it.

What other services are they recommending?

Intuit seem to be recommended the most. I believe there was two major banks, but Intuit was the only one that stuck out in my mind. Although all the services had pros and cons, the main reason they did not give Square a good rating was because of poor service. If you had large transaction, they would hold the money for up to 9-10 days...also, if you were having an issue with a transaction, you could not get them on the phone and email contact tooks days, sometimes to get an answer. Not good when in the middle of a transaction and you need someone now. Intuit and the major banks, you could always get help by phone within minutes.

Point one: The audio jack swiper is no where robust (nor is the port) enough to handle that type of abuse. A heavy handed teenage barista in a rush is going to mutilate them both.

Point two: There is no way that they are cheaper then a true merchant account that has pricing geared to high volume. I will guarantee that SB is getting free (or deeply discounted) service to use and advertise square. Their swipe rate is .05% higher then gopayment and they charge a .15 cent per manual entry free if you do a smaller amount manual entry this is highway robbery. Finally their reporting is horrible. If it doesn't mesh with quickbooks or have the ability to export statements/transaction details then its pretty much a waste of time.

Point Three: Square members are also horribly loyal and defensive. All the ones I ran into (scentsy ladies are the worse) didn't do their research and don't like to be told there are services out there that could have better suited their needs.

In summary, square is mostly about flashy advertising and lots of fluff. If you seriously need a mobile payment solution make sure to do your research first, top names include: gopayment, pay anywhere, PayPal (soon). Chat online with the gopayment guy and they will walk you through the details of many providers.