Starbucks Coffee Co., Seattle, announced that since the launch of its mobile payment technology in January, there have been 26 million mobile transactions to date. In the first nine weeks of the program, there were 3 million transactions, and in comparison for the nine-week period starting in October, there were 6 million transactions, demonstrating a significant jump in customer adoption and use.

Starbucks Coffee Co. rolled out the nation's largest mobile payment program with the goal of offering an innovative mobile experience for customers worldwide. U.S. customers were introduced to a smartphone application with a Starbucks Card stored within the app, providing a convenient and fast way to pay for Starbucks purchases, the company says.

During 2011, Starbucks expanded its mobile payment program to give customers access to the fastest way to pay at more than 9,000 U.S. locations, introduced the Starbucks for Android app, rolled out the Starbucks Card eGift feature, started international expansion, and developed the Starbucks Cup Magic app to share augmented reality experiences in its stores and beyond.

“2011 was a year of great mobile exploration and expansion for Starbucks and an opportunity to give our customers a new way to connect with Starbucks through a variety of mobile experiences,” said Adam Brotman, senior vice president and general manager of Starbucks Digital Ventures, in a statement. “The customer response to our mobile apps has been phenomenal. Not only are they using their phone as a wallet, but as a connection point to Starbucks as they manage their Starbucks Card accounts, send eGifts and get into the holiday spirit with the Starbucks Cup Magic app.”

Globally, the Starbucks Card program had $2.4 billion loaded onto cards during the 2011 fiscal year, and Starbucks Cards currently are used for one in four transactions in the United States, the company says. Since the card launched just more than 10 years ago, more than $10 billion has been loaded on Starbucks Cards, it adds. On the mobile front, since January 2011, there have been $110.5 million reloaded onto Starbucks Cards directly through the mobile app.

Starbucks took its mobile payment program beyond its nearly 7,000 U.S. company-operated stores and more than 1,000 Target stores to include nearly 1,000 Safeway stores in June, giving customers more opportunities to experience mobile payment.

In addition to its mobile transactions announcement, industry sources, including the Chicago Tribune, have reported that Starbucks Coffee Co. plans to open as many as seven stores that will sell beer and wine in the Chicago area by the end of 2012.

Starbucks has been testing these community-oriented stores, which also feature high-quality food options and experiment with live entertainment, according to industry sources.