Paying for a cup of coffee with new Starbucks iPhone app

This morning Starbucks launched a store-finding and menu-information iPhone app as well as one that will let customers use the iPhone as their Starbucks card. The second app is currently being tested in Seattle and Silicon Valley. The apps resulted from customer feedback it received via social-networking sites and their My Starbucks Idea online community it launched last year.

The first app, myStarbucks, lets customers locate stores and bookmark favorite locations. They can search by additional information, such as hours and amenities, to find, for example, a nearby one that’s open and has a drive-thru window. It also includes a menu and nutritional information for Starbucks’s drinks, food and coffee beans, and a “drink builder” that displays nutritional information based on the selections.

The Starbucks Card app that is in testing displays a scannable bar code on the cellphone screen, allowing it to be used to pay for purchases like a Starbucks card. It can currently be used in 16 Starbucks locations in Seattle and San Francisco – cities that were apparently chosen due to the high usage rates of both Starbucks cards and Apple products in those regions.

Starbucks will gauge customer feedback during the trial and then decide whether to extend the card functionality to other markets. TechFlash‘s John Cook is in Seattle and headed to the Columbia Center Starbucks to give the mobile payment system a try and his feedback was very positive.