The Future: Starbucks Agrees To Square Deal


No longer purely the domain of millenial small business owners, Square mobile payments have signed a massive deal with Starbucks, one that will soon have them processing transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States. Starbucks are kicking in a cool 25 million to the San Francisco start-up as part of the deal, which also sees hustlin’ Howard Schultz joining Square’s Board of Directors.

More from The New York Times, although anyone and everyone who writes tech online is beside themselves over this story today:

At first, Starbucks customers will need to show the merchant a bar code on their phones. But when Starbucks uses Square’s full GPS technology, the customer’s phone will automatically notify the store that the customer has entered, and the customer’s name and photo will pop up on the cashier’s screen. The customer will give the merchant his or her name, Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete.

Even though Square’s app has been well reviewed, it has not caught on with shoppers, which has been Square’s biggest challenge as it tries to expand. That is in large part because of the limited number of merchants that accept payments that way. Most of Square’s users are small businesses, like farm stands or cafes that also use Square’s credit card reader.

Starbucks, which will be far and away the largest business using Square, could change that.

Square’s close connection to coffee is an ongoing thing – you can find their services at fine cafes around the country, but especially at Sightglass in San Francisco, who’ve been working with Square since they started. Square were also 2011 Camp Pull A Shot sponsors, which is where we picked our Square device (it’s come in handy on more than a few occasions.)

Square, you’re awesome, and super successful, but here’s our unsolicited advice: Howard Schultz is likely an awesome guy to have on your board, and he surely knows how to help you grow from plain old millionaires into Big Bad Billionaires. But if someday you decide to buy the Warriors or the 49ers or something, keep him the hell out of it.