Starbucks App and the Winds of Change

Posted: November 23, 2011 in apps, iphone, Security, software, technology
Tags: , , , , , ,

The recent release of the Starbucks app that allows you to pay with your iPhone is causing me to think that it is more than just an ocean wind blowing their iconic sirens hair, we are seeing the winds of change.

Starbucks has had an iPhone app out for a while that let you browse their menu, find the nearest location, etc. and last week they upped the ante for us Canadians by adding the ability to not only link your Starbucks card to your iPhone but to also use that card/and or your SB account to make purchases in their stores.  (check it out here)  This. Is. Huge.  Not just because of the ease of its use, but huge on a grander scale.  A beginning of a change in the way we make purchases, and also a beginning of another way that if we are not cautious could be dangerous to our identities and our finances.

All it takes is one company to develop an App like this and before we know it the competition will have their versions out too. (Timmies & McD’s will be the first to follow suit I imagine)  And it doesn’t stop there.  The ability to pay for services with your smart phone is a game changer.

Sure, right now it is just allowing you to link your quick pay card with your iPhone, but very soon the credit card companies will be all over this technology as we get more and more comfortable with the idea of virtual wallets.  As soon as that happens you will be able to leave your wallet at home sometimes and still be able to pick up the tab at your fave eatery, or purchase that pair of shoes you’ve had your eyes on, etc.  The dangerous part is that anyone who has access to your smart phone could be doing the same thing at your expense.  Literally.

We have to ensure that we keep better track of where our phones are, who has access to them and make sure they are password protected at all times in order to deter the would be abusers of this technology.  With any kind of ease of use comes compromises to security, and everyone just needs to be aware of those potential issues before jumping on the fast-track to wallet-freedom.  Also remember, technology is great, but having wi-fi issues or losing cell phone service or worse yet, the company’s customer account server being inaccessible when you try to make your purchase could really hold up the line at your favorite coffee shop.

As for this new technology? Me, I’m all for it, but will make sure it is secure, password protected and my iPhone is within sight at all times.  Not to mention having a backup plan for those times when you really need a coffee, but forgot to charge your smartphone before leaving the house at dark o’clock on a monday.



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