Starbucks to roll out smartphone ‘pay ahead’ option in 2015

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NEW YORK (AP) — Starbucks says it will start letting customers across the country place orders ahead of time on their smartphones by next year.

The Seattle-based chain says it will introduce the option in Portland later this year before the national rollout in 2015.

Starbucks has been making a big push to convince people to sign up for its mobile payment app, which helps the company build customer loyalty. That’s in part because customers earn reward stars for each purchase, which can be cashed in for free drinks or food.

To encourage holiday sales, Starbucks also says 10 people who pay with its mobile app or a Starbucks card will be selected to win “Starbucks for Life,” which is a food or drink item every day for 30 years.