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Starbucks partners with Concur to bridge business expenses, mobile rewards

Starbucks is extending its expertise in mobile payments to business travelers through a new partnership with expense reporting system Concur.

Starbucks is integrating its mobile application with Concur’s expense reporting system for business travelers so they can easily earn points for their business-related purchases. With Concur reporting that Starbucks is the most commonly expensed restaurant chain and the top business-meeting destination, the integration will simplify mobile payment expense reporting for its users.

“The interesting dynamic is that Starbucks is seeing incredible adoption of their mobile app for payments, already something like 10 percent of all transactions are paid for with their app and another 20 percent or more are paid for with a Starbucks card,” said Jessica Pankov, director of partner marketing and alliances at Concur. “Clearly people love the experience and the rewards.

“But for Concur users they used to have to make a choice – either use the app and create their expenses manually or get an expense entry automatically created for them in Concur,” she said. “We want our users to have access to all of the same great advantages that technology brings to the consumer market and that’s a big part of what our App Center is all about.”

Concur, a part of SAP, is a provider of cloud-based travel and expense management solutions and services.

Business expenses
The integration enables Concur users to earn rewards by linking their registered Starbucks Card to their Concur account, get e-receipts automatically and have those receipts automatically sent to Concur’s expense reporting system.

Users will get stars – which can be redeemed for free drinks and food – when they pay with their phone or their Starbucks Card.

Transactions will appear in Concur mobile in near real time.

Transaction data from over 27 million Concur users shows Starbucks is the most commonly expensed restaurant and the top location for out-of-office business meetings. In fact, Concur users hold more than 10,000 meetings a month at Starbucks.

Results also show that the average business meeting expense at Starbucks totals $16.

Mobile payments take off
While more than one-third of all Starbucks transactions are now made with a Starbucks Card, including via Starbucks mobile app, Concur users previously were unable to earn My Starbucks Rewards Stars for business-related purchases.

Concur launched its App Center in April 2013. The e-receipt solution for business travelers making purchases at Starbucks is one of the newest additions to the center.

Starbucks’ mobile loyalty app is one of the big success stories in mobile payments, with the chain reporting that it is averaging more than 7 million mobile transactions in its stores each week. Additionally, more than 13 million customers use its mobile apps in the United States (see story).

The popularity of mobile payments is increasing for everyone including Concur customers,” Ms. Pankov said. “It’s a trend we see as really coming on rapidly and we want to support in a way that provides the necessary level of visibility to our corporate clients.

“The convenience it can provide business travelers is exactly in line with our Perfect Trip vision,” she said. “We already have a handful of different types of e-receipt partnerships, such as that with Uber.

“The Starbucks integration is another inroad into the mobile payments space — and we intend to support the role of mobile payments for Concur users through other strategic partnerships in the near future.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York