Starbucks customers in the UK and Ireland will be able to pay for their purchases by contactless payment from next spring, the coffee company has announced.

Contactless payment will be enabled through Barclaycard, in partnership with Visa Europe.

From early next year, customers in selected stores will have the option of paying for their coffees by holding their contactless credit or debit card over a payment terminal.

Starbucks said that following last week’s launch of the UK’s first contactless mobile payment service by Barclaycard and Orange, customers will also be able to pay using their mobile phone.

Subject to a successful initial pilot of contactless in Starbucks shops, the technology will roll out across the bulk of Starbucks coffeehouses in the UK and Ireland.

“We’re seeing the benefits of being among the first to embrace new technologies, especially those that make paying for a coffee quicker and easier for our customers,” said Brian Waring, VP, marketing & category for Starbucks UK & Ireland. “The introduction of contactless payment follows Starbucks successful adoption of other recent technologies including Facebook Deals and geo-fencing mobile couponing, rewarding customers, who opt to hear from us in this way, with Starbucks offers.”

“It’s great to see such a well known name as Starbucks realising the benefit that contactless technology can bring to their customers and their business,” said Marc Pettican, sales director of global payment acceptance at Barclaycard. “Coffee shops are the perfect environment for contactless payments because so many of their customers are in a rush to get their drink and go. That Starbucks has decided to introduce contactless is great news for a brand seen as technologically innovative.”

“Starbucks’ take up of this new technology shows we are reaching a tipping point where contactless payments will become a mainstream way to make fast, secure, low value transactions,” said  Mark Austin, head of contactless at Visa Europe. “Increasing acceptance by retailers and demand from consumers means the growth of contactless payments is set to accelerate quickly and will be widely visible in the run up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”