Starbucks gets Square for payments

Jeff Horwich: If you're a coffee drinker, we've got an item for you. It's not like paying for your coffee at Starbucks is all that complicated, but it's about to get even easier. Imagine paying just by saying your name into your smartphone -- maybe while it's still in your pocket. That's one scenario when Starbucks launches a major payments partnership with a young company called Square.

Here's our New York bureau chief Heidi Moore.


Heidi Moore: When you pay for your grande cappuccino, you probably don't think about where your money goes after you've swiped your card. But Jack Dorsey does. He runs Square, a startup that will install its one-touch payment app at Starbucks.

Jack Dorsey: So every Starbucks in the United States will be able to accept "pay with Square" and of course, the Starbucks app.

But it's more than that. Square will handle the millions of purchases that Starbucks customers make with plastic.

Dorsey: Any credit card and debit card transactions that go through the system will also be going through the Square system.

Nick Holland is with the Yankee Group. He predicts mobile payments will grow five-fold in the next three years. Square wants to capture that.

Nick Holland: The places you'd be using this would be anywhere where there's a high volume of low-value transactions, so yes, your quick-service restaurants, convenience stores, gas stations -- anywhere there's a line at lunch times.

Square founder Dorsey is a Starbucks customer himself.

Dorsey: Right now I like the Refreshers, have you tried them? It's almost like an energy drink.

And you can guess how he's going to pay for it after today.

In New York, I'm Heidi Moore for Marketplace.

About the author

Heidi N. Moore is The Guardian's U.S. finance and economics editor. She was formerly the New York bureau chief and Wall Street correspondent for Marketplace.

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