Now You Can Tip Starbucks' Baristas Using an iPhone

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Starbucks (SBUX) customers can now give a tip to their favorite barista using their Apple (AAPL) iPhone.

The addition is part of the latest version of the Starbucks app for iPhone, the coffee chain announced on Wednesday as part of its investor day topics.

Starbucks has been looking to up the mobile ante as part of its retail strategy.

In late January, the company announced Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz would cede his daily management duties to Troy Alstead, who was stepping into the role of COO. The move was to allow Schultz focus on "Starbucks mission, growth initiatives and the convergence and integration of our retail and e-commerce, digital, card and mobile assets around the world. There has never been a more exciting time to be a Starbucks partner," he said on Jan. 29.

Mobile payment represents 14% of all in-store transactions at U.S. Starbucks. More than 25% of all transactions are made by its loyalty members through My Starbucks Rewards, the company said in a press release.

The company also noted its growth in gift card transactions, "with an estimated 1 in 8 American adults receiving a Starbucks Card this past holiday season, which translated to 1.5 million new customers registering their Starbucks Card and joining the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program for the first time."

Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman said in the release that the company now has more than 8 million My Starbucks Rewards members in North America. Globally, Starbucks Cards are available in more than 28 countries, and more than $18 billion has been loaded onto the card since the start of the program in 2001.

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