Starbucks will soon take Apple Pay as a form of payment in the U.S., according to Jennifer Bailey, vice president of Apple Pay. Bailey revealed the news in an interview with Recode's Ina Fried today at the Code Mobile conference in Half Moon Bay, CA. This means that any consumer with a newer iPhone or Apple Watch — Apple devices that come with NFC technology — will be able to pay at Starbucks by tapping that device at a Starbucks terminal.
Outside of the U.S. there are already Starbucks locations that accept tap-to-pay, including Apple Pay. But the U.S. Starbucks-Apple Pay pilot will start this year, Bailey said, with plans to roll out to 7,500 Starbucks locations in 2016.
The partnership is significant for both companies. Apple has continued to grow its payments presence in various retail stores since the payment application first launched last fall, with more than one million locations in the U.S. currently accepting Apple Pay; while 16 percent of Starbucks payments now occur on mobile.
A full rollout is planned for next year
It's worth noting, however, that while you'll be able to use Apple Pay to buy something in Starbucks, you won't get any loyalty rewards for doing so. Starbucks' own popular mobile app does track these, so if you're a frequent Starbucks user, that option may still be the better one.
Bailey also said that Kentucky Fried Chicken will be supporting Apple Pay starting next spring, and Best Buy went live with Apple Pay today across 1,400 stores.
Apple is not the only tech company working with banks and card issuers to offer branded payment apps. Samsung recently launched Samsung Pay on select devices, and after slow adoption of Google Wallet, Google recently made another go at a mobile payments app with Android Pay.
Bailey made a point to say that some of the merchants working with Apple Pay now are also a part of MCX, a consortium of merchants that are rolling out a competing payments app.