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Why Buying Coffee with Your Iphone Matters


January 21, 2011

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Starbucks app Cash, credit, or gadget?

For years, payment geeks have promised that cell phones would soon replace the jingle of pocket change, ushering in a utopian world where consumers could buy candy bars from a vending machine with a phone call. Just dial a number on the machine, and—BANG—your Juicy Fruits or Fritos drop into the tray.

Those promises never materialized, but worse yet, the value proposition never materialized. More than one analyst has called mobile phone payments a solution in search of a problem. After all, when would dialing a phone number be easier than pulling out a piece of plastic?

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