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Today Starbucks begins accepting Square Wallet purchases at 7,000 of its stores. It works by scanning a QR code or, if your phone is NFC-enabled, you can tap your smartphone to make a payment.

You open the Square Wallet app, tap on “Starbucks” and scan your phone. The Square Wallet app is available from Apple’s AppStore and Google Play. It links directly to your credit or debit card and manages your digital receipts.

The companies announced in August that they would be working toward an integrated app, with the upcoming option to digitally tip baristas. The application also provides a directory of thousands of Starbucks locations. Starbucks invested $25 million in Square this summer, and was the first national retailer to offer its own mobile payment technology beginning in January 2011.

Competitor Google Wallet lets you store credit and debit card information from all major companies, as well as gift cards, in a secure Android app. It lets you make in-store purchases by simply touching your phone to a PayPass reader and keying in your PIN.

Google and PayPal have a cloud based approach to in-store mobile payment allowing you to sync your preferred payment method across multiple devices and keep track of both your online and in-store purchase’s through Google’s web Wallet.

Google Wallet also uses near field communication (NFC) technology to transmit your payment details in a secure and wireless manner. You’ll receive a payment confirmation after you tap the contactless reader and then you’re on your way. It mostly works with Sprint phones.

Isis is a joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. It was announced on 16 November 2010. Notably, Sprint is not part of the consortium. The ISIS mobile system has partnered with the Discover network and Barclaycard US. Consumers in Austin, Texas and Salt Lake City, Utah have started shopping with Isis.

Market fragmentation of mobile wallets has resulted in consumers facing the acceptance of different mobile wallets at merchant checkouts. Consumers have to use several types of mobile wallets to experience universal usage, so a shopper still needs to use cash, or debit and credit cards at many checkouts.

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