Many folks seem to be a bit confused about this. Since I’m a frequent visitor of Starbucks stores time and time again I hear that it’s not possible to pay for purchases at the counter with an Android phone. I hear that there is no official Starbucks application on the Android platform. I hear all sorts of things, so let me set the record straight on this so you have happily ditch (or, keep it in a safe place) that Starbucks card and start paying with your Android phone.
First off, it is true that there is no official Android application in Canada at this time (January, 2011). If you take a look at the application in the Android market, you’ll see that it’s incompatible with Canadian devices. I have had that application installed by other means, and I can tell you – it’s quite useless in Canada. Starbucks’ own mobile application page also conspicuously leaves out the Android application. There is really no telling when the Android app will be in Canada, but it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. I’ll show you how.
You need a small app called My Coffee Card (market link) by a fellow named birbeck. He makes a number of small apps, and this one seems to be a real hit for those of us looking for that very cool mobile app nirvana at Starbucks (not to mention the kind of speed that comes with just pulling out a phone and scanning it). I’ve had more than a few baristas befuddled to see me reach for my phone when paying.
Here’s what you do:
1. Download and install the application if you haven’t already done so.
2. Add you card(s) to the application. This involves entering he details on the back of the card. You don’t have to use your online Starbucks login for this process (using the login allows you to track rewards, if you want).
3. When you walk into a Starbucks, you open the interface, click on the card you want to use and you’ll get a simple set of buttons, these will give you additional options for the card. You want to touch the “Payment Barcode”.
4. Pass it to the clerk or flash it in front of the payment scanner to scan your card. Be sure to place the phone sideways with the text indicating which direction should be up. You’ll see these scanners in every Starbucks location.
That’s it. The nice thing about My Coffee Card is that it’s free, and after you make a payment – your balance is immediately updated on the phone (so you know exactly how much money has been deducted). The application also includes and interface to reload your Starbucks Card with a Credit Card. I would caution the use of that feature and use the online counterpart at starbucks.ca. A great application all around, so get out there and use Android! I’ll let you know when I see an official Starbucks application in the market.