Living with credit

Emily’s list: Starbucks Square edition

Emily Crone

Mobile payments have slowly but surely wriggled their way into American markets. Starbucks (not related to me) was ahead of the curve, introducing an app last year that allowed customers to pay with their mobile phone. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told CNN Money that the company is processing 1 million mobile transactions each week! Schultz said, “I can’t think of anything we’ve introduced in the last 40 years that had this kind of adoption.”

Starting this fall, the coffee empire is switching to using Square, a company whose mobile app allows you to pay “effortlessly.” Your card on file will be charged, and you quickly leave the counter. “The system uses the phone’s GPS to detect that you’ve walked into a Square-enabled retailer,” says CNN. “The store’s checkout software then automatically connects with your Square app.” Then you can walk up to the counter where a photo of you displays on the register. It allows you to order and pay without even pulling out your phone or card. It can read it from your bag or pocket. All you need is the Square app on your phone, and after you’ve filled in your credit card details once, you’re all set.

As a busy lady with a large purse that can be hard to dig through, I think this is a brilliant idea. It seems like it would be a big timesaver and keep the line running. It reminds me a little bit of the TabbedOut app, though the addition of having your photo pop up is a smart addition, one that will help prevent a cellphone thief from perking up on your dime.

While multiple mobile payment companies approached Starbucks, CNN Money was told by Starbucks executives that they were drawn to Square because its fee structure offers a reduced cost, especially for transactions in other countries. Square is hoping to land retailers of all sizes, and I think this will be really cool if it catches on with other merchants. Though it takes away any tangible aspect of paying, which makes me wonder if people will find it easier to spend since it will just feel like play money. But these are some very interesting developments, and I can’t wait to see how things go.

Would you want to use an app like this?

Read on for my roundup of my favorite posts from the personal finance blogosphere from the past week.

1. Habits are hard to change, especially our financial ones. Money Under 30 reveals why they are so hard to break and how to implement new financial habits.

2. Ever wish you were rich and famous? It turns out some wealthy celebrities live like the rest of us! One Smart Penny lists 10 celebrities who live frugally.

3. Stuck in a debt rut? Our own site,, includes a balance transfer guide detailing how balance transfer cards can buy you time to erase your credit card and other debt.

4. Do you feel like you aren’t being paid enough? Cash Money Life lists four steps to take if you feel underpaid.

5. 20something Finance offers five conversation starters you can use if you need to have a talk with a financially irresponsible partner.

6. Living large can have dire consequences. Clever Dude discusses five of the biggest wastes of time and money that you should avoid if possible.

7. I love my pets like they’re my own children, but they are not cheap to have. My Personal Finance Journey shares some of the many financial considerations that go into getting a new pet.

8. If you’re about to create a budget, you will love Christian Personal Finance’s list of over 70 budget categories to include.

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