Citing positive customer reviews regarding its mobile-payments service, Starbucks Corp. plans to expand the scheme later this year, CEO Howard Schultz revealed July 21 during an earnings conference call with analysts.

“Based on early success and positive customer feedback, we are committed to expanding this program in the months ahead,” Schultz said.

Consumers may use the service only through the retailer’s Apple Inc. iPhone and iPod Touch applications at some locations in Seattle and California and at more than a 1,000 Starbucks counters located inside Target Corp. stores.

Starbucks relies on a bar-code payments system from mFoundry Inc. that uses an image consisting of black-and-white squares arranged in a checkerboard style. Clerks may scan the images with optical checkout scanners in use at many retail stores.

“We now believe that offering mobile-payment and mobile-gifting capabilities will result in a more efficient in-store experience and provide us with significant competitive advantages and further differentiate Starbucks from competitors,” Schultz said during the conference call.

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