Well-known coffee chain Starbucks is getting in on the mobile payment craze today with the ability for you to use your phone to pay for your latte.

As we’ve written about before around here, we love the idea of “virtual wallets“.  If you’re carry around your cell phone already, why should you have to deal with carrying a wallet also?  This idea has been popular in Japan for years now, but it has had some trouble catching on here in the United States for some reason.

Well, with Starbucks getting into the game now, perhaps people will be more open to the concept since they can use it daily to feed their caffeine addictions.

Now when you use the Starbucks Card Mobile (iTunes link) app on your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or BlackBerry, you can now pass it through a scanner to have it read your card, and you’re all done paying.  You can’t get much simpler than that.  The new service is available in 6,800 company stores (i.e. ones in airports are not usually company stores) around the United States, so now so long as you have your phone with you, you can get coffee providing you have a Starbucks card.

The interesting aspect of this whole thing is you can also now technically pay for your drinks with PayPal.  When you go into the app and ask to recharge your card, you can either pay with a credit card or with your PayPal account to provide the funds.  Considering how just about anyone with a computer now has a PayPal membership, this isn’t a bad idea at all for the chain.

Eventually we would like to see one app you could use anywhere to pay for things as opposed to company specific ones, but this definitely feels like a step in the right direction towards no longer having to carry your wallet with you.

What say you?  Are you ready to start paying for your 13 shot venti soy hazelnut vanilla cinnamon white mocha with extra white mocha and caramel this way?