Reports Show Mobile Payments Are Catching On

Consumers on the go are using their smartphones to pay for items they buy in a bricks-and-mortar environment, according to reports released by retailers this week.

Baby apparel and toys seller Magic Beans, a 5-store chain based in the Boston area, saw that 18% of all transactions were made with mobile self-checkout in lieu of using the traditional point-of-sale.

Additionally, the number of purchases made via the Magic Beans app was up 285% over Black Friday 2010, according to AisleBuyer, which built the mobile self-checkout app for Magic Beans.

According to the Magic Beans app page, there may be some extra incentive for its customers to check out via an Android or iPhone: a 10% discount.

Starbucks says there have been 26 million mobile transactions to date since it launched its apps for the iPhone and Android devices.

With those apps, users can upload their Starbucks card info to those devices, and use them to pay for goods at Starbucks locations. Customers can also re-load their Starbucks card via their mobile device.

In part, Starbucks is seeing growth in mobile as it expands its e-gift card offerings. Since Starbucks launched its e-gift card program in June, the company says its grown to make up 10% of total gift card sales.

According to e-gift card provider CashStar’s annual holiday survey, released Dec. 6, more than 30% of respondents with smartphones said they would buy e-gift cards with their devices if they were available this year. That’s up 10% from the 2010 survey.


Here’s a look at the Starbucks mobile payment app in action:

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