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Starbucks Tests 'Scanless Checkout' for Drive-Through Customers

Starbucks trials a game-changing 'scanless pay' feature for drive-through customers, leveraging geolocation for swift, contactless transactions. Will this be the new standard?


In an ambitious move that could redefine the drive-through experience, Starbucks is testing a 'scanless pay' feature. This innovative system aims to streamline the payment process by using the Starbucks app's geolocation features to identify customers, eliminating the need to fumble with phones or wallets.

Once you opt into the feature, you simply check in via the app when you arrive at the drive-through. After placing your order, all that's left to do is confirm your name and, voilà, your caffeine fix is ready for pickup—no scanning required.

Speed and efficiency are of the essence in drive-through operations, and this innovation could be a game-changer. By ditching the need to scan barcodes, Starbucks can serve customers faster, possibly boosting its bottom line. In Q2 2023, the coffee giant reported that its Mobile Order & Pay system accounted for an astounding 74% of its U.S. company-owned revenue. Imagine the potential uptick if the scanless feature takes off!

Starbucks has been at the forefront of digital payment solutions, pioneering mobile wallets long before Apple Pay entered the scene. This experiment reaffirms the company’s commitment to providing seamless, tech-enhanced customer experiences.

While Starbucks bets on geolocation-based technology, Amazon has been exploring more controversial biometric systems like palm-scanning. Starbucks' scanless system may have a leg up here, offering a less invasive approach similar to grocery pickup apps like Instacart.

As of now, the 'scanless pay' system is still a proof-of-concept and is being tested among Starbucks employees. No official launch date for consumers has been announced yet.

So, are you ready for a faster, scanless future at your local Starbucks drive-through? Let us know what you think!