Starbucks App Now Supports Apple Pay

One of the innovators in mobile payments, Starbucks Corporation SBUX 0.27% finally stopped dragging its heels on becoming Apple Pay-friendly this week when it released the latest update to its iOS app.

When Apple Inc AAPL 0.49% launched Apple Pay back in October, Starbucks was listed as one of Apple’s supporting partners. It has taken nearly four months, but iPhone users can now use Apple Pay to buy their favorite lattes at Starbucks.

The Catch

Although the transition does technically allow Apple Pay users access to their favorite lattes, Starbucks customers still cannot use Apple Pay to pay directly at Starbucks stores. Apple Pay can only be used to load credit onto Starbucks cards via the Starbucks app.

According to the update description, “Now you can use Apple Pay to quickly reload your Starbucks Card. Touch ID makes it faster than ever.”

Mobile Payment Pioneer

Starbucks was way ahead of the mobile payment game when it unveiled its Starbucks Card Mobile app back in 2009. The app allowed users to use their iPhones as a virtual Starbucks Card.

Since that time, Starbucks has been improving on the app and building a customer loyalty program around it. With the app’s success, it’s understandable why the company might be hesitant to let Apple Pay swoop in and take over by allowing direct Apple Pay payments.

Mobile Expansion

About 15 percent of Starbucks’ transactions take place via its mobile app, which also includes nutritional information and an enhanced menu.

In addition to continuing to improve its current app, Starbucks plans a 2015 nationwide launch of the Mobile Order & Pay app that it has recently been testing in Portland.

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