Square Reportedly Stumbling at Starbucks

While most accounts of mobile payments refer to stunning successes, one of the biggest names in this emerging industry has apparently hit a rough patch at Starbucks.

According to the findings of a new Fast Company report, Starbucks baristas are having trouble completing transactions with Square’s mobile payments solution.

Last November, MMW reported that the Square Wallet application would be accepted at all 7,000 Starbucks stores in operation.

“We look forward to continuing to create amazing connections with our customers – both in our stores and outside of our stores and offering our customers choices in how they want to pay,” said Adam Brotman, Starbucks chief digital officer.

But the growing pains have been obvious.

Fast Company tested the service in two dozen locations across the country. According to follow-up coverage from Venture Beat, on the worst trips, “the service did not work, and on average, it was ‘buggy.'”

Fast Company reporter Austin Carr highlighted one aggravating customer experience in particular:

“What? Square?” the clerk asks me, as she turns to another Starbucks employee behind the counter. “Can we pay with Square?”

“I don’t know,” the other employee responds. “No.”

“But there’s [a Square] option here,” the clerk says, as the two huddle close to the register’s screen.

The clerk tries to scan my iPhone with her barcode reader, repeatedly tracing it up and down over the surface of the device, which is running Square’s Wallet app. A minute or two passes. No luck. “I don’t know how it works,” she says. “It won’t scan. It’s weird.”

The line of customers behind me was getting long. I felt uncomfortable. I decided to pay with cash instead.”

Have you used Square to pay for coffee at Starbucks? If so, what was your experience? Please weigh in with a thought or comment below.