Get ready to say adios to your wallets, everybody. Well, at Starbucks anyway. The coffee giant announced today it will partner with mobile payments start-up Square, an app that links your money directly to your phone and automatically connects you to retailers in your vicinity who are using the service.
Here's how it works: As soon as you enter Starbucks—or any other participating retailer—your name and your photo are automatically beamed into the cashier's register. All you need to do is place your order and tell them your name to confirm. As the app first gets implemented, customers will also need to show a barcode to the barista, but after everything gets settled you won't even need to pause that game of Angry Birds to order your beverage! No need to take out cash or present a credit card so long as you have your phone on you—and in this day and age, isn't that always?
By know we've all realized that cash is going the way of the dodo, but with these kinds of advancements in smart phone technology, credit cards may not be long for this world either. Though widespread usage of mobile payments is still a few years off, Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine tells the Times that "if a big merchant jumping into some mobile payment solution signals to other merchants that there is an opportunity here, that might change the psychology for other merchants." The catch will be getting consumers to overcome their "resistance to try anything new when everything we have works really, really well, even cash, which is very convenient," says Maurer.
But why stop there? It's only a matter of time before Starbucks implant microchips into customers containing regular orders and financial details—in the future, the chip will do the talking, and we'll never have to listen to anyone order a Venti Decaf Nonfat Two Pump No Whip Mocha again.