Starting today, Starbucks Corp. will allow company-operated stores in the United States to use some smartphones to pay for their purchases.  The new offering was made in a hope to drive sales by giving consumers what they have asked for–a faster and more convenient way to pay.

Starbucks noticed that one in five transactions are made by Starbucks card and that their customers often use their smartphones while waiting in line.  In fact, according to figures from the Wall Street Journal, Starbucks cards showed a 21% growth last year, driven in part by its rewards program.  At the end of the fourth quarter in 2010, Starbucks reported a profit increase of 86% worldwide.  In a combination of speed and convenience, the company worked to create something to please.  Enter the Starbucks Card Mobile App.

The app is free to download and works with the company’s Starbucks cards.  Once a card is added, the user can manage their Starbucks card account, track rewards, reload their balance via credit card or PayPal, and even locate stores.  Customers can pay by a bar code appearing on the phone.  When placed under a 2D scanner located at the register, the customer is able to make a swift and easy payment.

The program was first tested in a few areas, such as Seattle, Northern California, and New York.  After the success of its pilot program, Starbucks decided to release it on a larger scale.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the program will be available at nearly 6,800 company-operated stores and 1,000 Starbucks in Target Corp. locations.

Customers using Research In Motion Ltd.’s BlackBerry or Apple Inc.’s iPhone or iPod Touch are currently able to use the app.  However, CNN reports that an app for Android phones is in the works.