Starbucks Cards Now Have More Money Than Some Banks

Jun 10, 2016

Starbucks doesn't offer bank accounts, but people are storing more of their money with the coffee chain than they are at some banks, according to a new analysis.

As more customers join the company's loyalty rewards program—it now has 12 million members—they are paying for their coffee using the Starbucks (sbux) cards or its mobile app, which now have a total $1.2 billion loaded onto them for future lattes or snack purchases, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of "Where Money Lives."

That's more than many banks have in deposits, including First Commonwealth Financial Corp. (fcf) and Charles Schwab (schw), according to the data, which came from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Still, Starbucks is holding far less of customers' money than larger banks and financial institutions such as Bank of America (bac), the leader in deposits with more than $427 billion, Wells Fargo (wfc) ($67.8 billion in deposits) and American Express (axp) (which has $3.3 billion in customers' funds loaded onto prepaid debit cards). Even PayPal (pypl), which is making a major push into digital payments, now has more than $13 billion parked in its accounts, MarketWatch points out in its own analysis.

But the money banked at Starbucks appears to be growing rapidly, with the current $1.2 billion nearly double the $621 million the company had in 2014, according to Bloomberg. That growth has been fueled by the company's popular app: Starbucks has "one of the most successful mobile wallets," Leena Rao writes in the new issue of Fortune. In March, Starbucks announced that it will launch a prepaid Visa card later this year.

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