After being touted as an Apple Pay (NASDAQ:AAPL) partner early on, Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is finally integrating the mobile payment solution into its app, albeit in a limited capacity.
While the ubiquitous coffee chain was listed as one of the original retailers where customers could pay with their phone using Apple Pay, it's taken the chain the better part of five months to actually implement the technology. Now, the updated version of its iOS app will allow users to reload their Starbucks Card using the Apple system. The new feature should speed the process up, bypassing the passwords and credit card numbers customers currently have to input with the much smoother Touch ID system.
However, patrons still won't be able to use Apple Pay for transactions in-store. Starbucks has invested in its own barcode scanning technology for in-store transactions, and while it's still possible the retailer could make room for both, customers probably shouldn't hold their breath.
"The real question is whether or not Starbucks will update their POS, to allow Apple Pay to be used to pay for coffee, versus just loading the card," Wilson Kerr, VP for business development and sales with Unbound Commerce, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "This is unlikely, in my opinion, as Starbucks has worked long and hard to gain visibility into what gets spent, why, where and by whom. Apple Pay at the register would interrupt this data collection."
The update also includes a few other tweaks, including menu enhancements that display calorie information for items and the Mobile Order and Pay feature in Portland.
Meanwhile, Burger King is following in Starbucks footsteps with the limited rollout of a mobile ordering service of its own. Powered by Opentabs, the new feature of its mobile app has been activated for 10 locations in Germany and is set to be turned on for seven more next week.
The new feature makes it possible for customers to both place an order and pay for it via their phone, and even provides a countdown to let users know when their order will be ready. In addition, Burger King locations that have the feature enabled will provide a separate line for customers picking up mobile orders.
Mobile ordering features have seen a boost in recent months as chains such as Burger King make efforts to reach tech-savvy millennials. Starbucks has already found financial success with its mobile efforts, and has used social media to further grow its brand with a younger customer base.
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