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MarketWatch reports on some pretty stunning numbers from Starbucks, saying that the coffee retailer "had $1.2 billion loaded onto Starbucks cards and the Starbucks mobile app as of the first quarter of 2016.

"As of the second quarter of fiscal 2016, 41% of Starbucks transactions in the U.S. and Canada were conducted using a Starbucks card (24% of transactions at company-operated retail stores U.S. used the Starbucks mobile app), according to figures Starbucks provided to MarketWatch. The company had 12 million active loyalty members in the U.S. in the second quarter."

Here's the punch line: "The Starbucks figure exceeds the deposits at many actual financial institutions, including California Republic Bancorp ($1.01 billion), Mercantile Bank Corp., ($680 million) and Discover Financial Services ($470 million)." It also "far exceeds Green Dot Corp., among the largest prepaid-card providers, with its $56 million on deposit."
KC's View:

It is worth pointing out that Starbucks essentially has persuaded its customers - and I count myself among them - to provide it with what basically is millions of dollars in interest-free loans, in exchange for which it gives us convenient checkout, the ability to pre-order from the road, and the occasional free cup of coffee.

Sounds fair to me.