Starbucks iPhone payments going nationwide

After an apparently successful trial run at select Starbucks location, the coffee chain now plans to take its mobile payment technology across all of its 6800 locations.

Starbucks made big news last year when it became the largest chain store in the country to allow customers to pay at the register with their iPhone.

Here’s how it works. Simply take any Starbucks gift card you’ve ever received – or get a new one at any Starbucks store – and then register that card online. That card then becomes your primary source of payment for all your Starbucks transactions.

Online, you can use a credit card to refill your Starbucks card. You can even have it set to auto-refill after it dips below a certain amount.

Then, download the Starbucks iPhone app. When you go to your neighborhood Starbucks, simply load the app, click “touch to pay,” and then scan the phone at a custom scanner at the register. The purchase will be deducted from your Starbucks gift card.

The coffee shop behemoth has been trying to avoid paying costly credit card fees for individual cups of coffee by encouraging regular customers to go with the Starbucks gift card program. Customers earn reward points if they pay for coffee with a gift card instead of a credit card, and the points can be used for free drinks.

Clearly, Starbucks is very forward-thinking in its payment processing. By rolling out mobile payments to more than 6700 stores, it is far and away the leader in such technology.

The company is also working on an Android app, but for now only people with an iPhone or iPod Touch are able to try it.

Current Starbucks locations that already offer the mobile pay system are in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, and throughout its chain of Target locations.