Use your phone instead of your wallet

January 19, 2011 4:00:25 PM PST
The way you pay for coffee is changing and it may impact the way you pay for just about everything else. On Wednesday, Starbucks unveiled a new phone app that allows you to swipe your phone at the store to pay for your latte. Using your cell phone to pay for stuff is nothing new in countries around the world. Now here in the US it's taking a huge step forward.

There are apps for all kinds of things. Now there is an app that lets you wave your smart phone to pay for coffee at Starbucks.

"I think that is a lot easier than having to use a card," said coffee drinker Patricia Medrano. "Very fast, because sometimes, everybody loves Starbucks so the lines are going to be long so just doing that, having that, I think it is cool."

Not just cool, potentially the smart phone payment option could be a game changer even for those who don't like coffee.

Jay Lee, host of Technology Bytes, explained, "A lot of the smart phones are coming with the ability to put credit cards on there and you can pay with your phone for just about anything."

The Starbucks app is free. After you download the program onto your phone, you enter a card number and your device will display a barcode that's scanned instead of swiping a credit card or paying with cash. It's the same technology used in Asia for years.

"America tends to be a little behind because all the technology we see comes out of Asia, Japan and Korea," Lee said. "They have had this technology in place for a while."

The idea behind the Starbucks app is to make buying coffee super convenient, but not all coffee drinkers like the idea of using a phone for anything other making a call.

Coffee drinker Jose Lopez said, "I do not use those applications and stuff. I just use the phone to make my calls and send some texts and that is it."

Another issue with the Starbucks app is that it is not compatible with every smart phone on the market, but the company says it's working on developing apps for other phones, so expect them soon.

Having accounts on your phone may sound great, but it also means you need to be more careful. If your phone does not lock itself after a minute or two, you may want to set that feature up on your smart phone. That way if you lose the phone, your account information is safer.