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Starbucks Partners With Square

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the physical-wallet-death-clock-just-ticked dept.

The Almighty Buck 145

Square, the start-up mobile payment service that aims to bring credit card transactions to anyone with a smartphone, has formed a partnership with Starbucks, a move that vastly increases Square's reach and visibility. According to the NY Times, "This fall, Square will begin processing all credit and debit card transactions at Starbucks stores in the United States and eventually customers will be able to order a grande vanilla latte and charge it to their credit cards simply by saying their names. Though smartphone payments have a long way to go before they replace wallets altogether, Starbucks’s adoption of Square will catapult the start-up’s technology onto street corners nationwide, and is the clearest sign yet that mobile payments could become mainstream. ... 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."

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Free Coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916755)

Finally we could have some free coffee

Crap coffee meets crap payment system (4, Funny)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916771)

Mediocrity loves company.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (2)

jehan60188 (2535020) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916907)

tell me more about this mediocre coffee that has stores across the nation

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (4, Funny)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916937)

Dunkin Donuts?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (3, Insightful)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916987)

...because everyone knows that the best things are the most popular. Don't you just love Rihanna, Justin Bieber, Beyoncé...

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917063)

Oh for the love of god, it's a place that sells coffee and coffee-like drinks. They obviously do a better-than-average job at it.

Are we really going to go all hipster-douche, arguing over whether or not it's not the finest, orgasm-inducing, flavored water on earth?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (4, Funny)

the phantom (107624) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917325)

By your logic, McDonalds makes an obviously-better-than-average burger, Taco Bell serves an obviously-better-than-average taco, and Pabst Blue Ribbon is an obviously-better-than-average beer.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917573)

Not exactly a masters of logic, are we. Here we'd actually have, "McDonalds obviously does a better-than-average job of selling inexpensive, salty, fast food, just as Starbucks does a better-than-average job as a store that sells 'good' coffee-type drinks."

What's 'good' in the way of your preferred drink is subjective, so I'll leave it to the unwashed masses to argue over.

Re:Better than average (3, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917575)

You tried to snark, but you lose.

McDonald's, through their (insert three adverbs here) ____ ____ ____ processes, produce fries that give the best in the country a run for the money *if you time the batch cycles right*. That is, you watch the current batch of fries, wait until they burn on 4 customers, and maneuver your way to the first of the new batch. Beats EVERY TIME the nasty "home fries" that the indie restaurants seem to think taste good.

Taco Bell that you tried to hate on, has an even stronger case. You can't get out of a standard mexican restaurant under $15. (remember tips?) They have SEVEN of the best low cost meals I have ever had at fast food outlets. (Five if you count the Non-KFC Co-branded ones.)

What these lowballer corps do is force everyone else to offer something else besides price.

Re:Better than average (3, Interesting)

RKThoadan (89437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917763)

Their fries are pretty good and their non-nugget chicken products are pretty decent as well. However, none of that excuses the horror of the substance which they refer to as "cheese". It's an insult to cheesemakers everywhere.

Re:Better than average (3, Insightful)

colinnwn (677715) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917931)

Taco Bell that you tried to hate on, has an even stronger case. You can't get out of a standard mexican restaurant under $15. (remember tips?) They have SEVEN of the best low cost meals I have ever had at fast food outlets.

Taco Bell is not Mexican food. It is Tex-Mex inspired junk food. That's not to say I don't enjoy it on occasion, especially a green buritto and a MexiMelt. But there are at least 30 good Mexican restaurants in Dallas I can go to for under $15 (food, non alcoholic drink, tax and tip), many under even $10. And there isn't a single meal at Taco Bell I would consider one of my favorite low cost meals. Del Taco just opened in Dallas, and I personally like it better.

Re:Better than average (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918211)

McDonald's has sort of won me over too... I like their hot fudge sundae and for about $2.50 total I can get that, plus a 32 oz diet Dr. Pepper. Fountain drinks aren't always equally good everywhere, but IME theirs are consistently good. Subway for dinner then McDonalds for dessert and I am happy.

Re:Better than average (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918233)

"produce fries that give the best in the country a run for the money"

I will accept this if you exclude fries made out of sweet potatoes from your comparison.

You cannot beat sweet potato fries. This is very important.

Otherwise, I'm fine with your post.

If you haven't had sweet potato fries, do yourself a favor and acquire some. Then you will understand the occasion for my post.

Re:Better than average (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918811)

No, thanks. I've tried "sweet potato" fries a dozen times, and they always manifest at best, a nasty aftertaste reminiscent of moldy spinach.
The only things worse are beets and brussels sprouts.

Re:Better than average (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918277)

Taco Bell that you tried to hate on

Just "hate". Not "hate on".

Do you "love on" or "like on" things? No, of course you don't.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40919059)

You had me until you started hating on PBR.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (3, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917591)

Yeah, but the average in the US is terrible. There's a reason why Starbucks isn't all that successful here in the Mediterranean countries, where good coffee is well established and cheap.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

FacePlant (19134) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918813)

Are we really going to go all hipster-douche, arguing over whether or not it's not the finest, orgasm-inducing, flavored water on earth?

It sure looks that way.

Cream and sugar?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917135)

On the other hand, there are those who dismiss anything sufficiently popular as crap. In this particular instance, all these self-proclaimed coffee gourmands couldn't pick out a particular brand of coffee in a blind test. They think they can, but they're wrong.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

graphius (907855) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917235)

I can't pick out coffee brands, because a lot of them are crap.
My coffee of choice (when I am not home*) is an americano (espresso + hot water, for those that don't know) from a couple of independent coffee shops. Starbucks, like McDonalds with their hamburgers, are more concerned with consistency than flavour.

*When at home I do have a couple of espresso machines, and, when I want more caffeine, a bodem. I grind my own beans that I buy from one of a few local roasters.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917511)

I can't pick out coffee brands, because a lot of them are crap. My coffee of choice (when I am not home*) is an americano (espresso + hot water, for those that don't know) from a couple of independent coffee shops. Starbucks, like McDonalds with their hamburgers, are more concerned with consistency than flavour.

*When at home I do have a couple of espresso machines, and, when I want more caffeine, a bodem. I grind my own beans that I buy from one of a few local roasters.

This is your defense in reply to a thread where someone asked if we're going to get all hipster-douche about it?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917627)

Ugh, Americano. Diluted crap for pansies ;)

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917193)

I'd give Rihanna some love, does that count?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917555)

True - popular does not always mean better. The flipside being that popular does not always mean bad either.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916925)

Please elaborate, about Square not Starbucks.

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

SomePgmr (2021234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917121)

I'm not the gp, but I'm wondering what kind of deal Starbucks got on the rates. They certainly wouldn't settle for the pricing on the cover.

I do like the SB mobile payment app. I don't do well with keeping individual loyalty cards handy and loaded, but I've always got my phone on me. Did Square always have an API so they can continue to process with them, using their existing point of sale hardware?

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916933)

Flavored milk...

Re:Crap coffee meets crap payment system (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917009)

I haven't used their cell phone payment system, but my business has been using Square for the past year, and we fucking love it. What do you hate about it?

Also: yes, Starbucks coffee is shitty. They burn their beans to make a "distinctive" flavor.

The King doesn't care, why should you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917731)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0VdFi8p_wM

I Was Super Confused By the Headline (4, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916781)

"Uh, yeah, I'll have a double Crono frappuccino and a venti Cloud -- be sure to leave room for Chocobo."

Re:I Was Super Confused By the Headline (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916813)

"Uh, yeah, I'll have a double Crono frappuccino and a venti Cloud -- be sure to leave room for Chocobo."

"Great—what's the name?"
"Cid."

Re:I Was Super Confused By the Headline (1)

eyenot (102141) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916875)

Role-playing and caffeine seem like a natural marriage, though.

Re:I Was Super Confused By the Headline (4, Funny)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916963)

"One bard, please. Extra spoony."

Re:I Was Super Confused By the Headline (2)

Omegawar (1314051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917059)

Glad I'm not the only one. I was picturing the girl making the coffee dressed up as Tifa.

interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916785)

For being a technology site, slashdot sure has a shitty mobile interface..just sayin

Re:interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916825)

Not just mobile, my roving friend.

Square and Starbucks (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916797)

Was it just me who thought this would be about making sure Square-Enix developers stayed focused?

Re:Square and Starbucks (2)

FilmedInNoir (1392323) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916897)

Yes... I thought maybe some coffee related RPGs were going to be produced like Latte Quest or Final Cappuccino.

Re:Square and Starbucks (1)

cupantae (1304123) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916947)

I, on the other hand, imagined a revamped Starbucks menu system involving "junctioning" of customers' pets to improve coffee attributes such as size, caffeine, flavour and fairtradeness. Sadly, this is not the case.

Re:Square and Starbucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917817)

would have been awesome though :(

Re:Square and Starbucks (1)

neminem (561346) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918727)

I was just imagining Final Fantasy themed coffee drinks, a la these [wikipedia.org] , only coffee. I was disappoint.

No cashier needed (4, Interesting)

davide marney (231845) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916857)

If they can track customers as they walk in the door, why even have a line at the cashier? You walk in the door, you get a push notification to confirm or change your standing order on your phone, and then you take a seat. Once your drink is ready, you get another notification, go to the pickup counter where they confirm your photo and give you your drink.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916903)

How is this easier (or more desirable from any viewpoint) than the current system? I fail to see what problem is being solved.

Re:No cashier needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916961)

The problem of paying a cashier to stand and take orders? This would allow the line to move faster or starbucks to have one less staff member working.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918243)

So what happens when the system goes down? You've suddenly got nobody there who is capable of taking the orders. If it's anything like the coffee shop I had the misfortune of working for the staff aren't allowed to take on each other's roles if there's a problem. I was once threatened with disciplinary action because whilst working alone I was taking orders and serving at the same time (standard practice in the bar trade).

The upshot? I was told to take all of the orders before I started making coffees, so I did. As a result I was still taking orders an hour later and several people were going ballistic at the boss who was trying to explain that the company's systems would ensure they were served quicker (which was untrue to the point of hilarity). I asked her, in front of the customers, if I could demonstrate how one person could both take orders and serve at the same time. The response? "Our other staff can't do that, if customers get that service from you they'll expect it in our other outlets."

Coffee shops (collectively) need to get their heads out of their backsides and train their staff to do two jobs at once, not try to eliminate jobs with flakey tech based ordering systems.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918519)

So what happens when the system goes down? You've suddenly got nobody there who is capable of taking the orders. If it's anything like the coffee shop I had the misfortune of working for the staff aren't allowed to take on each other's roles if there's a problem. I was once threatened with disciplinary action because whilst working alone I was taking orders and serving at the same time (standard practice in the bar trade).
 

The same thing that happens at the airport when the airline's automated check-in kiosks are down - they muster all of the employees they can to manually take orders meanwhile the queue backs up out the door and everyone is unhappy, but Starbucks saved a few bucks on labor so it looks good to investors even if it annoys customers.

Fortunately, there's still some little competition for coffee, but if Starbucks continues to buy up small chains (like Peets), that may not be the case forever. Small coffee shops aren't always where you want them, Starbucks is everywhere.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40919267)

Most coffee shops are NOT like the one you worked at. My girlfriend is a barista, and has been at several large chain shops. Cross-training is a requirement.

Perhaps you're thinking of Starbucks during Shultz' retirement (which ended up being a sabbatical, as he came back to save the shareholders). It's still the Walmart of coffee, but in an emergency, a well run store won't just go retarded (perhaps, any further retarded) on you.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

sh00z (206503) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916979)

GP appears to desire minimal interaction with other humans, and the steps outlined would help achieve that.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40919309)

The interaction would still be there for those that want it. Coffee shops have historically been a place where you can sit and chill, and if the barista is friendly (and you're not a dick) when things slow down you'll have your chance to chat.

Besides, if you are attempting to chat and have a grand old time expecting fluffy feelings of human interaction when there's a line to the door, you're simply an asshole, just like those folks that don't know what they want to order in a busy bar.

Re:No cashier needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917783)

Lets be honest. It takes a very long time to swipe a credit card. It has to go all the way from the top of the reader to the bottom, query a database, and enter a transaction.

This shortens that time by allowing people to connect to their wifi, query the database, pull up a photo of the person, and then the cashier will be able to identify that person.

Much quicker, right?

Also this stops credit card fraud, because everyone that steal credit cards immediately buys $4 coffee for themselves and their friends - instantly running up 10's of dollars on the victims card.

Re:No cashier needed (3, Interesting)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918007)

In computing terms, it's the difference between serial and parallel. In this case, allowing anyone to check themselves out via their phones would mean that more transactions could be handled per minute, even though each transaction may take longer to accomplish. It would also be a less frustrating experience, since customers could go in, sit down, and make the transaction in their own time from the comfort of a nice seat, rather than having to stand in line for an interminable amount of time while the lady at the front forces the poor cashier to repeat back to her the 17 adjectives describing her "coffee" drink, just to make sure he didn't mess up the order.

Now, I'm sure we'll still need a cashier to handle people like her who want to place custom or unusual orders that aren't handled easily via Square, but for the majority of people, it can be used to speed them along. Apple has actually been using a system like this for a few months now, where any customer with an iOS device can download a retail store app, find the product they want in the store, and simply purchase it from their device, then walk out the door, all without having to ever talk to a salesperson. It sounds crazy to me, to be honest, but the people I've talked to who have done it think it's absolutely great.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40919225)

Uh, speed? The benefits are obvious. Any time a customer can walk into a store, and have the store know exactly what they want, it's faster.

Think of it as similar to phoning an order in prior to going in. You just float to the pickup counter, pay, and leave. Much as the baristas will miss out on flirting with you, from a business standpoint it's a huge win, assuming they can pull it of even 10% of the time.

Re:No cashier needed (2)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916969)

Why bother with customers at all? Just track the people walking past the store, charge each of them $5, and leave the country with a big bag of cash before the police can catch up with you.

Credit card transactions with no audit trail: what could possibly go wrong?

Re:No cashier needed (2)

AmIAnAi (975049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916997)

But then I wouldn't get to chat to the attractive cashier while they took my order. Seriously though, I can see the advantage if you're getting a coffee to go and can simply go straight to the collection point, but if I'm going to sit down its nice to have someone say hello and smile as you give your order, ask how you are and comment on the weather.

Re:No cashier needed (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917189)

My phone has a weather app.

Re:No cashier needed (2)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917171)

Sadly, that's how coffee shops used to be. When I worked in one I knew the regulars and had their order ready before they sat down. Now get off my lawn.

Re:No cashier needed (0)

complete loony (663508) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917371)

GPS? Why not use connecting to the in store wifi as the trigger, and then talk to the register directly. I bet this is implemented with a central service that will fail with the slightest internet connection issue.

what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916859)

is our economy now based on the honour system?!

what could possibly go wrong!

WOO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40916889)

I can't wait to exploit this.

Free (crap) coffee! Paid for by the nearest sucker with a smartphone.

How (2)

TheEffigy (2666397) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916929)

How is this even possible, the accuracy of standard GPS and size of starbucks stores ensures there must be a high margin of error - unless I'm misunderstanding.

Re:How (1)

Nimloth (704789) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916945)

Don't know about you but my phone can usually find me within 6 to 10 meters.

Re:How (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917131)

There are lots of Starbucks where you can't get a cell phone signal or a GPS ( urban canyons, grocery stores) .

Re:How (1)

Mr. X (17716) | more than 2 years ago | (#40919243)

Wi-Fi triangulation should be pretty accurate, since pretty much any Starbucks store is guaranteed to be broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal.

Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (5, Interesting)

blackest_k (761565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916939)

I am quite uneasy about all this gps tracking and logging which is going on these days?
Sure it's just a coffee in this case but do you really want everything logged and recorded?
How long before your inbox is getting spammed with we notice you haven't been in starbucks for a while here's a voucher to super size your coffee on your next visit. Should there be records of your movements associations and purchases.

Facebook has gotten ever more intrusive, especially with timeline they are recording where you go and who you meet up with.

Your smartphone will tag your location with gps when you take a photo in the exif information (firefox has an extension to read the exif and locate it on a map for you). I noticed facebook strips the exif data from photographs but facebook is still likely to retain it for their own purposes and of course facebook will turn over everything it has to the Police should they so request.

I'm all for using technology when it is useful to the user, but this constant casual surveillance is beginning to get more than a little creepy. You don't have to live in Syria to find a goverment who will use technology against you given the opportunity.
 

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (2)

outsider007 (115534) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916973)

It's not for you. They're selling mocha frappuccinos to yuppies. When they start accepting smartphone payments for tin foil hats your feedback will be welcome.

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917247)

More interesting that probably many stores have wifi, so they probably don't even need gps information because they can track what access point you're using and know what store you arrive to.

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (1)

w_dragon (1802458) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917427)

May work some places, but last time I was in a major city I was on the 20th floor of a hotel and I had access to about 20 hotspots, including several starbucks. GPS would tell them that I was a couple hundred feet above the store location, and thus probably not physically in the store.

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918075)

ubiqutous tracking of your smartphone makes it easy to set up an alibi ... just lend your phone to a friend and go commit a crime ... later you can reference your timeline and say "see officer I was at Starbucks" =)

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918099)

You'll be happy to know then, that this is entirely optional. After all, how would they serve customers without smartphones? Square is already in use at my local coffee shop, but the only interaction it has with me is via my credit card and my e-mail. The coffee shop is basically just using it as a traditional POS, with them taking my order, punching it in, swiping my card, and then turning the iPad around so that I can provide a tip if I want to and sign my name on the screen. After that, I chose to give Square my e-mail address (which was entirely optional), so it e-mails me a receipt.

That's it. No pictures of me. No GPS. They have no knowledge of my phone whatsoever. I seriously doubt a company like Starbucks would alienate customers who want to pay in cash or who lack a smartphone, even though smartphone-toting types are their main demographic.

Re:Bit of an invasion of privacy isn't it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918933)

Optional. Until it isn't.

Its only a matter of time before some controlf-freak "digital generation" genius decides cash is too yucky, cumbersome, difficult, or risky to handle, and "frees" the baristas from having to deal such 20th-century detritus.

This is the year, as I predicted, that the control-freak crowd started their propaganda campaign disguised as sociological research, to show that anyone without a Facebook account should be viewed with great suspicion.

Yikes (3, Insightful)

Venner (59051) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916949)

Am I the only one whose first knee-jerk thought was, "Wow, that's great! And from now on, I use nothing but cash!"

What's wrong with a simple asymmetric encryption system keyed to a particular cellphone, to be activated at checkout?

GPS-revealing apps already weird me out -- along with peoples' obliviousness to personal safety and/or security -- but automatically promulgating your name and photo to the store you enter quite exceeds creepy. At least this service is optional...for now.

Re:Yikes (2)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917761)

My yikes was a different one.

Square seems to be going for the paypal market - being a middle-man between the credit card companies and the merchants.

Just like with paypal, I cannoth fathom why the credit card companies would allow this to go on without offering a similar service themselves, and I also cannot understand how it could possibly be anything but more expensive per transaction for the merchant.

The pay-by-phone tech that I would be interested in is this:

Merchant requests a payment token from my phone via a low-power short-range communication protocol (bluetooth, perhaps, though I'm not sure how to speed up the discovery so it requests payment from the right device), and I review the request on my on phone, which itself contacts the cc processor to obtain a unique token for this transaction to give to the merchant.

For convenience, I would like to have settings to specify what kind of authentication is required for various sized transactions, a daily cutoff that bumps up the authentication requirement, and per-merchant settings to bump up or down the requirements. Perhaps with the ability to pre-authorize certain merchants for authentication-free transactions for certain amounts during a certain time-window - e.g. the morning coffee mentioned above.

Re:Yikes (1)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918379)

Square seems to be going for the paypal market - being a middle-man between the credit card companies and the merchants.

Just like with paypal, I cannoth fathom why the credit card companies would allow this to go on without offering a similar service themselves, and I also cannot understand how it could possibly be anything but more expensive per transaction for the merchant.

The difference is that Square is actually a Merchant Service Provider, for all intents and purposes, they ARE the credit card company. Paypal is more like an escrow service. I own a small business and have a merchant service account through a decent provider, the rates are pretty good and the money shows up in my bank pretty quickly. After reviewing services like Square and Intuit's GoPayment I realized that once I factor in the monthly fee I'm currently paying my provider, any fees associated with my POS terminal as well as yearly compliance fees I can get a MUCH better rate by using Square or GoPayment (I decided to go with GoPayment because of the integration with QuickBooks).

Re:Yikes (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917767)

Exactly -- when I saw that they'd Sbux scan a barcode, I thought that sounded ok (but what happened toe NFC being the ultimate solution to contactless pay-by-phone!?). But when I saw that Square wanted to be able to track my movements at all times via GPS so my phone can automatically authorize payments at a merchant anytime I walk in the door, that's when I realized that I'm sticking to credit cards.

I don't even mind letting the merchant know that I've walked in their door since they're going to know one way or another, whether I use my phone to pay, my credit card, or my starbucks card, but I don't want to let Square track my every move 24 hours/day and then sell that data to other merchants ("Hey, hawguy walked in your store 23 times over the past month, but he only made a purchase twice. Pay us $$ and we'll pop up an ad on his phone next time he walks in your store"). Or worse, send me promotions based on where I've been so my wife will say "Hey honey, why does Square keep sending you Victoria's Secret promotions when you haven't set foot in that store for years -- who are you buying lingerie for!?!"

Silly Wabbit (1)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 2 years ago | (#40916985)

I must be missing something. Square allows me to say my name to purchase coffee and saves me the great pain of opening my wallet and taking out my credit card and handing it to the cashier. I know I am a lazy fuck, but I seem to always have the energy to take my credit card out of my wallet. I know there must be more to this. Perhaps Square intends to offer debit card like services with lower transaction fees in the future and cut Visa and MasterCard out of the picture.

I am not sure I want Starbucks to track me on my phone as I enter the store, or even as I walk by the store. I definitely don't want to provide them with more data about me. I definitely don't want my children subscribing to Square. Who knows who will be tracking them.

Too hard (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917019)

Starbucks will match the photo and the payment will be complete

Can your average employee handle that? Seems like a risk of clicking the wrong victim. If they require the employee to type in the name first, then if they allow users to select their "screen name" or "nick name" you just know jokers like me will have nick names like "Mr Goatse" or "Mr Hugh G Rection"

The other part is I don't want retail establishments to know who I am. Not because I'm a crook but because its too creepy. I already hate having shelf stockers and oxygen wasters at Best Buy bug me every 30 seconds when I'm picking up something I already researched online at Amazon so having them call me by name is going to be even creepier and more annoying.

Three problems (1)

aaarrrgggh (9205) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917167)

One: I don't like vanilla lattes, so a grande would really be out of the question.

Two: my wife and I use the same account-- her with the card, me with the phone. How does this let us share?

Three: it is the human interaction that makes a place like Starbucks special and worth $3 for a disposable cup of colored water. Convenience and efficiency are great, but destroying that culture will be killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

square's other cool tech = reenabling petty theft (5, Insightful)

xeno (2667) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917297)

Square? You mean the purveyors of the butter-slice sized "I-can't-believe-it's-PCI-compliant!" (tm) mobile payment system? The first time I had some hipster process my card with his iPhone, I was apalled that there was a system that *can't* issue a physical receipt. I know, I know, most people swipe their cards and wave off the receipt, taking it on faith that the merchant will charge only the amount shown on the till and not a little more... or the maximum I just authorized with the card-present swipe. If the charge is off, you have no proof, no way of coming back, nothing at all.

Oh sure, I can stand there for another 2-3min while I ask said hipster to email or text me a "receipt" (at least it has a transaction number) usually accompanied with a lot of huffing and puffing about how giving me a receipt is a hassle and why do I want one anyway....? Because I just did the electronic equivalent of laying my wallet on the counter and saying "Take what you need." I'd like some acknowledgement of what was taken. Is that such a burden? I still write a few checks for bills and such so there are multiple transaction types debited against a single account, and I like to reconcile payments and balance my account periodically like a grownup.

I might slide more easily into the paperless future if the rate of "error" (not really) wasn't going up. Even in my run-o-the-mill consumer usage, I've had a few instances in the past year where a person (a local drive-up barista, a dude selling t-shirts at Comicon, etc) where there was a discrepancy between what I was told and what was punched in. It's never in my favor, and if I didn't catch it in tiny print on a smudgy screen before faux-signing with my finger... And when I ask for a receipt -- even a text pseudo-receipt -- they got all flustered, and one even refused (that was the one who'd added an even two dollars). Persoanlly, if you're that hard up to steal a buck from me, you can have it. But that doesn't mean it's right.

All of a sudden this older type of "skimming" is coming back into vogue, something that I haven't seen since... well, ever in my lifetime. My parents used to talk about deli guys with a finger on the scale, and cashiers with pennies on the counter to count how many dollars in the till they'd lifted from customers (so they could balance the till by pocketing the right amt of cash at the end of the day), but I thought they were funny old-people stories. Any now Square comes along with a magical box that re-enables a petty crime by depricating auth logs... and few people seem to give a crap.

Everything old is new again.

How is that different than online shopping? (3, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918145)

The first time I had some hipster process my card with his iPhone, I was apalled that there was a system that *can't* issue a physical receipt.

How is that different than shopping online? You're relying on online vendors to present you with a confirmation page, which you can then choose to print on your printer, or have e-mailed to you. If you're buying a physical object, you might get a receipt with your shipment, or maybe just a packing list. If not, where's your physical receipt? It's up to you to print it.

Square will e-mail or text you a receipt. Is it that hard to enter 10 digits to get a text? If the person you're buying from is complaining, the problem is them, not the system.

Re:square's other cool tech = reenabling petty the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918369)

Couldn't you hack the receipt printer to send out the wrong amount?
I guess this just makes it easier, and like you're saying, the problem comes mostly at the direct interaction level.

One of my managers at McDonald's (some time ago) would work drive-thru on the headset all by himself -- he was the cashier, order taker, and hand-out guy. He would tell customers a slightly higher amount than they really owed and then pocket it. I guess he would just skim the extra cash immediately so the change matched the receipt, and since it's all verbal, it's hard to trust yourself or give proof when you're looking at a printout or complaining (to my manager) at the store.

And it's not common to be keenly aware of small details in any sort of constant fashion in everyday life. As far as I knew, he got away with it. I don't think he did it on every order either.

"Personally, if you're that hard up to steal a buck from me, you can have it." But that doesn't mean it's right.

I think this is a good attitude. It certainly isn't right, but it is unwise to be disproportionately angry over such things.

Re:square's other cool tech = reenabling petty the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918385)

I know, I know, most people swipe their cards and wave off the receipt, taking it on faith that the merchant will charge only the amount shown on the till and not a little more... or the maximum I just authorized with the card-present swipe.

At which point you dispute the charge. Hell, my bank's website has a little "dispute" link next to each card-based purchase in the transaction history view. And the best part is, if the transaction was a non-signature purchase (which they are by default if you never see a receipt, obviously), you pretty much win by default!

Re:square's other cool tech = reenabling petty the (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918471)

Do you own and operate a brick & mortar small business? Do you take credit cards as a part of that business? If yes, how much was the initial cost of the setup? What percentage do you pay to each respective company for each transaction? If no, what percentage of your customers wished they could have purchased more, but were lacking their checkbook + enough cash on hand to pay?

The Square has done wonders for small businesses that otherwise would not be able to offer card transactions. And yes, if there is a mistake on the transaction, you can call up the company and ask to get it fixed. A $12 tip at a restaurant that should have been $2 gets refunded in 1-2 business days. If the merchant refuses or is otherwise unavailable, you dispute it with your credit card company.

Your other points are valid with respect to having a better audit system available and physical receipts. A mini, mobile printer that could integrate with the Square sounds like an excellent idea. Other mobile devices already offer this, and I can see the Square benefiting from this as well. If you have the resources, I would encourage you to develop and sell such technology to Square, you'd probably make a nice profit from it. Otherwise, it probably will be offered as an add-on in the future, just wait for it.

back in the real world... (2)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 2 years ago | (#40919217)

"If the charge is off, you have no proof, no way of coming back, nothing at all."

You must have really, really horrible credit cards. Get an AMEX. If a charge is off, call them - they'll fix it. I even had a situation where a mechanic shop charged me $1k for /not fixing/ my harley, so after a bit of protesting I walked out the door, called AMEX, and let them handle it. I did have to send in a little form defending my protest of the charge, but only because it was $1k, versus the $10 charge for a $3 coffee that would be much faster. The business is the one who is responsible for creating an audit trail they can not modify - when have you ever used the slip of paper (which fades to unlegible in microseconds anyway) to protest a charge after the fact?

Girls Around Me Drinking Coffee (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917369)

New app! Ok, so now Starbucks can virtually stalk me. Not that corporations don't already stalk all of us, but once that kind of data becomes accessible, Apps like "Girls Around Me" come to bear, and then we're all suddenly creeped out by the lack of privacy...

But hey, if I have to give up my privacy for a 1-second time-savings while buying a coffee, I guess we're all with it, then, eh?

And it only takes one moderately border-line wacko working at Starbucks to know the home address of the cute blonde that asked for a grande half-caf soy latte. Or the identity thief that decides that working at Starbucks is the way into everyone's retirement account.

We just had an article posted on Slashdot yesterday about some writer who's iphone, ipad and imac were wiped out because of lax security on the part of major corporations -- who allow you to tie together too many services making it easy to break everything. Now comes Starbucks, who will soon make it easy for others to use their account for other nefarious purposes.

Re:Girls Around Me Drinking Coffee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918771)

What do you expect from a company that steals underpants for a living!

Wat (2)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917387)

Starbucks already has a mobile payment system for smartphones that uses a barcode. I haven't had to carry my starbucks card in my wallet for months. That makes is slightly more secure since my wallet can be stolen while my Android phone can be remotely wiped and is PIN-locked.

As soon as you enter a Starbucks, you're in a wifi area (attwifi) that you have to click-through before you get Internet access. If most Starbucks customers are like me, they use it. So the instant you walk into a store, there's no way for the phone to communicate to the store that you've entered, since the internet connection is being blocked by the clickthrough. This isn't a problem for the existing smartphone app since it already knows your card number and can generate the barcode. The balance and ability to reload won't work, but that may not be necessary for the transaction.

And yes, I like Starbucks. Their decaf is one of the few drinkable varieties.

Re:Wat (1)

beaverdownunder (1822050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917519)

...er, but couldn't the phone communicate over 3G/4G data?

Somehow I doubt the 'typical' Starbucks customer doesn't have data on their phone plan...

Re:Wat (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917597)

You must not use a smartphone.

When you enter an area that has a wifi SSID you've used before, the 3/4G data shuts off and you get data via wifi. Even though you're now on wifi you won't have access to the Internet until you've opened a browser window and confirm you've accepted the terms of service.

Re:Wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918489)

On Android, if an app requests the cellular network, it will get it (if you're in range of a tower) even if WiFi is on and you're connected to a hotspot. For example, T-Mobile's "MyAccount" and voicemail and such apps use this to verify the subscriber, which they can't do (easily) over WiFi. (I'm sure most other carriers' My Account type apps do the same).

You'll see this in the app permissions list as "System Tools -> change network connectivity", so that's the one to look for if you don't want apps that exhibit this behavior.

I assume that the upcoming Starbucks app will request this permission and Starbucksers will go ahead and grant it, seeing how the whole idea is that they're already giving their fine-grained GPS location to the store anyway.

Re:Wat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918013)

Your phone auto connects to the open wifi and stops using 3/4G, but has no net access if you haven't clicked through the intercept page.

Re:Wat (1)

teh kurisu (701097) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918517)

Surely the clickthrough software has a whitelist that they can use to allow access to their own systems though? Even more so if the system is operated locally.

Re:Wat (1)

Enry (630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918835)

Possible. Doesn't work that way now.

coffee (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917497)

I like coffee

Headlong rush to insanity (1)

Stickerboy (61554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917699)

Not that it hasn't been ongoing already...

My wallet stays in a secured, not-readily-accessible pocket, and only comes out when I need it. My phone is shown and changes hands everywhere, so friends and acquaintances can look at photos, videos, or use an app. I understand the big corporate push to monetize your smartphone - it's part of the neverending drive to depersonalize and devalue money so corporations can more easily separate it from you - but why do people buy into it? Is the minute convenience of not having to converse with the barrista or pulling out your wallet really worth the NFC security risk? No thanks! I might as well wear my credit card number, expiration date and CVV on a T shirt.

focus (1)

nathanbeach (1056196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40917717)

It's strange that they're only targeting Grande Vanilla Lattes. But they must know what they're doing!

hipster douches (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917803)

sums up slashdot in the last 4 years imnsho and anyone supporting starbucks monetarily or psychologically is already a douche.
Just like most of you losers.

grande vanilla latte!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40917851)

That should please the idiots at Microsoft who designed 'The Ribbon' and 'Windows Metro'... what a bunch of arrogant, out of touch morons they must be, as they sit round, trying to come up with even more stupid and unfriendly user interfaces...

Wake me when Walmart signs up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40918213)

Seriously. We are not talking about a major mover here. We are talking about a company (Starbucks) which sells a great deal of one thing. When Walmart or Home Depot or someplace that sells many millions of dollars of different items signs up then this is important. Starbucks using Square is just the company trying to stay 'current', 'cause Square is what all the cool kids are using now.

Phone app doesn't require interaction with phone? (1)

MichaelJ (140077) | more than 2 years ago | (#40918675)

“Pay With Square, Square’s cellphone app, which eliminates even having to take the phone out of your pocket or sign a receipt.” Okay, so how does the cell phone app work if I don't actually unlock the phone or run the app? And while you're at it, if I'm inside a shopping mall, the GPS location is going to be completely wonky and it will have no idea what store I'm actually in.
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