Apple Pay is coming to Starbucks, but will users earn points?

“Apple Pay is finally coming to Starbucks’ U.S. stores by year-end, more than a year after Apple launched its mobile wallet. But coffee drinkers might stick with Starbucks’ own app to earn points and perks through a loyalty program,” Reinhardt Krause reports for Investor’s Business Daily.

“Starbucks did not respond to an IBD request for information as to whether customers would earn loyalty points by using Apple Pay,” Krause reports. “Starbucks’ mobile wallet, a barcode-based payment app, enables customers to pay with a swipe of their mobile phone.”

“The lack of loyalty programs tied to Apple Pay has been one drawback to its slow start, analysts say. A Bloomberg report says Apple Pay accounts for only 1% of all retail transactions in the U.S.,” Krause reports. “Apple in June said it would support some retailers’ frequent-buyer/loyalty rewards cards.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As <a href="" target="_new"we wrote at the start of the week:

The Counterfeit Card Liability Shift just went into effect on October 1st. Now the retailer that has made investment in EMV deployment is protected from financial liability for card-present counterfeit fraud losses. Let’s give it some time now to sink in with the hoi polloi. In addition, as more Apple Pay-compliant devices roll out, Apple Pay adoption will naturally increase.

And, by the way, 1 percent of all retail transactions in the U.S. and growing is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

That said, if Apple were interested in really promoting the use of Apple Pay, they could – gasp! – incentivize its use. As we wrote in August:

Apple, give us a reason to use Apple Pay beyond looking like tech dorks at the register. What’s the incentive to use Apple Pay? There is none besides looking like a flaming nerd. As if Apple doesn’t have any money. That, inexplicably, is how they approach Apple Pay.

Hello, Tim? Eddy? Talk to some people who actually go to stores and shop for things, please. Incentivize its use! Give Apple Pay users a percentage of every dollar spent via Apple Pay to spend at Apple Stores. Something. Anything Get people used to using it first.

Starbucks, KFC, and Chili’s to accept Apple Pay this year – October 8, 2015
Barclays to bring Apple Pay to the UK in early 2016 – October 7, 2015
Some Best Buy stores are now accepting Apple Pay – September 18, 2015
MCX CEO gone a day after Apple Pay lands Best Buy – April 28, 2015
Best Buy capitulates, to accept Apple Pay despite CurrentC allegiance – April 27, 2015
Major retailers see Apple Pay wave – November 17, 2014
In only 3 weeks, Apple Pay is changing how consumers pay – November 17, 2014
Boycott CVS and Rite Aid – October 27, 2014
Bad business: CVS and Rite Aid antagonize their most well-heeled customers by blocking Apple Pay – October 27, 2014
CVS stores reportedly disabling NFC to shut down Apple Pay – October 25, 2014
iPhone users earn significantly more than those who settle for Android phones – October 8, 2014
Yet more proof that Android is for poor people – June 27, 2014
More proof that Android is for poor people – May 13, 2014
Apple’s iOS dominates in richer countries, Android in poorer regions – March 25, 2014
Twitter heat map shows iPhone use by the affluent, Android by the poor – June 20, 2013


  1. Discover card did exactly what MDN suggests: offered an incentive (a sizeable one, 10% cashback) on all apple pay transactions in stores (not online) for the rest of the year.

    Thanks to this particular offer, I no longer have an iPhone 5S; I now use my new 6S to pay at whole foods, trader joe, Duane Reade and whoever will accept it.

  2. The Apple Pay adoption is less about loyalty cards than it is about the lack or slow conversion to new pay devices at retail. Just this week. Went to store that had a device that accepted the chip cards, but when I tried to use it (to no effect) I was told by the cashier that they hadn’t set them up yet. Still had to swipe. At Best Buy: “You accepting Apple Pay yet?” I asked. Reply: “We’re supposed to get it soon, but not yet.” People (at least those like me) would be using Apple Pay more if retailers would equip their stores with the new payment devices and set them up properly. It’s simple inertia. This stuff doesn’t happen over night. As MDN notes, October is really the starting gun for all of the modern pay devices in the U.S. Credit goes to Apple for having really good devices and methods for taking advantage of the payment gear as it is finally deployed.

    1. It’s the same old Cheap, Lazy, Stupid problem of modern biznizziz. They need a cattle prod, like Target getting their asses sued off in court by Million$ of pissed off customers who had their credit cards stolen by POS POS Windows XP Embedded scanners. The same nasty scanners Samsung Pay enable to keep on working and screwing customers with security FAILs.

  3. This article brings up a good point.. If mobile payment systems allowed quick use of loyalty cards in addition to the payment cards they may get a better foothold.. The question currently is the convenience of taking out your loyalty card and then paying with your mobile device vs. taking out both the loyalty card and payment card from your wallet for use.

    1. I guess this will work with any other vendors where the gift card is also the loyalty card.. For other loyalty programs you’d still have to enter a phone/member number, present the physical card or equivalent on your smartphone. e.g. Walgreens, Safeway, etc.

  4. I think you have to look at the various user cases here. There are many disincentives to using Apple Pay.

    1. For men, it’s easier and quicker to pull a card wallet and choose the card to tap an NFC terminal than turn on the phone (especially on the 6 which is very cumbersome if you want to avoid hitting the volume buttons at the same time).

    2. For women, it may be easier to find a card wallet in a capacious bag than to find the phone.

    3. Men might want to ditch their wallets to empty a pocket, women will always take a bag.


    1. The phone is much bigger and clumsier than a card, especially if the phone is in a case which covers the front.

    2. The wallet works every time – the phone works only in those stores that have NFC terminals and support Apple Pay.

    3. Most store cards are not supported. Many stores offer a card with credit finance as well, rather than a separate loyalty card, and if you want points you must use their card.

    4. Using the wrong card is more likely with Apple Pay, especially if you have multiple cards from the same credit provider for different reasons. Personal and business Amex cards look identical, but you can organise the physical cards in a wallet to ensure you don’t pick the wrong one – it’s not so easy to do this in Apple Pay , and it’s more cumbersome to make the choice at the time of paying.

    5. Sometimes you want to pay cash. For those who have a separate billfold this is not an issue, but otherwise this means you can’t abandon your wallet.

    6. There is an increased risk of dropping the phone at checkout because the action is cumbersome and unique. In a busy line there is pressure to complete the transaction quickly.

    7. It’s easier to pull and pocket the right card (or pull and store it in a specific place in a bag) while waiting in line than fiddle with a phone which might turn off before you get to the register.

    8. Many people use debit cards and choose their account at the register. It’s not clear to me (Apple Pay is not available down under yet) if Apple Pay supports this. Even if it does it would be more cumbersome to do this with phone in hand rather than a card.

    9. Phones can run out of power. Cards never do.

    We are people of habit and changes to those habits comes slowly. Most of us have developed little procedures to streamline frequent tasks and, today, those procedures cannot be replaced by Apple Pay, and must be augmented – so users must take a simple process and replace it with a more complex one. (From wallet, to wallet plus phone).

    As Apple Pay becomes more universally useful people may change their habits but only when the new process is simpler – which is not the case now.

    In Europe the take up is likely to be faster: there are vastly fewer banks so more chance that Apple Pay will work for your bank cards and accounts.

    Not everyone takes their phone on local trips to the shops. Not everyone regards a phone as central to their existence. Many of the older generation do rely on their phones, but use them as phones and little else.

    In families, it’s quite common to give a partner or an older (responsible) child a card and pin to run errands to the supermarket. Giving your phone to someone else is often not a viable option.

    Over time there is a cost benefit to switch from physical to digital payments. But this benefit is to the card issuers not the users. If the android user base is offered, and takes up, digital payments then this will become more likely. But only when there is universal acceptance by users. Until then, cards will still have to be issued by the providers.

    1. While you make some Okay points, the overall approach is not one of a scientific approach. It’s more of a: I just think this is the way things will be.

      How things will work in the future is undetermined. But Apple Pay seems to be taking off pretty good in the US.

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