People Loaded $4 Billion On Starbucks Gift Cards Last Year

Starbucks announced its quarterly earnings information yesterday: revenues are up, and the company earned a profit of $540.7 million. One piece of information in the report caught our eye, though: $1.3 billion was loaded on Starbucks Cards in the last quarter of the year, with $4 billion in Star Bucks loaded on cards during the past year.

Of course, the Starbucks Card is more than a gift card. Unlike most store loyalty cards, the company’s rewards program for their most addicted customers requires them to first deposit money on the stored-value card before earning rewards points. That might sound kind of onerous, but it doesn’t stop Starbucks fans. The company told Quartz that 30% of their transactions were on the cards. Almost a third. Huh.

They aren’t just part of a Starbucks debit card-based economy, though: the company estimates that about 10% of American adults received a Starbucks Card as a gift at some point this holiday season.

The cards are now ubiquitous enough to inspire entire backlash programs, like the Disloyalty Card that some independent coffee shops in Washington, D.C.

FY14 1st Quarter Earnings Release [Starbucks]