Starbucks’ new mobile payment app went live in the UK today, giving users the ability to buy their coffee using an onscreen barcode.

The coffee chain’s iPhone app integrates its loyalty card, so users can manage their card balance and top-up direct from their mobiles.

Customers pay for their drink by swiping their barcode at the till.

The iPhone app, which will be followed by an Android app later in the year, also includes a store locator, food menu and a drink builder feature. 

The app has proved to be a success in the US, with 26m purchases made since it was launched in January 2011.

Starbucks also revealed that $110m had been loaded onto loyalty cards via mobile last year, though this is a small portion of the $2.4b overall.

The app is well placed to take advantage of Starbucks’ loyal customers – one in five UK customers already pays using a Starbucks Card – and this will surely be popular with busy morning commuters.

It will also be interesting to see how the app develops as NFC technology becomes more prevalent.

Surely the next step for Starbucks is to allow users to pay just by touching their phone on a card reader, rather than going through the process of finding a barcode?

The coffee retailer has also today launched a new rewards programme that offers customers benefits such as a free drink for every 15 purchases.

Further benefits are on offer for super-loyal customers who clock up 50 visits, including free espresso shots and whipped cream.