Small Business Tool? Square Pushes Mobile Payments Trend Forward with Starbucks Partnership

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November 13, 2012 ‐ By Kimberly Maul

Image: Press Association via AP Images

Mobile payments are hot in tech right now, and we’ve reached a major milestone in getting consumers to use their phones to pay for items in real life. Square, which originally produced a mobile credit card reader and has since launched a mobile payments app for consumers, launched its partnership with Starbucks that was announced back in August.

Consumers who have the Square Wallet app on their iPhone or Android device and have it linked to a debit or credit card can simply scan a barcode at 7,000 Starbucks locations nationwide to pay for their purchases. While Starbucks is the largest company partnering with Square Wallet, it is not the only one, and the app allows users to explore nearby merchants who also use the program.

Business Insider has a step-by-step guide to using Square Wallet at Starbucks, and the companies also released a video, embedded here:

Square has done a lot to make it easier for small businesses to accept credit cards and made it more convenient for consumers to pay with their phones. But it is not the only company working to get a foothold in the mobile payments space. PayPal also produces a small credit card reader and has a digital wallet product, plus the brand recognition that Square sometimes lacks outside of tech circles.

Google Wallet is also making waves as it is investigating a physical plastic card that is linked to its mobile app, allowing users to access several accounts with one card. Intuit and eBay, not to mention more traditional credit card companies such as MasterCard and American Express, also have a stake in the game.

One reason mobile payments are so popular now is that they provide small businesses with more ways to accept payments and build loyalty. And while the partnerships with Starbucks and other big guns brings a lot of press and buzz, the impact for small businesses is huge—and is arguably the bigger story.

Have you used Square or other mobile payment apps? Would you like it if your local mom-and-pop shop allowed you to use them?

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