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Forget Apple Pay. The Master of Mobile Payments Is Starbucks.

Forget Apple Pay The Master of Mobile Payments Is Starbucks WIRED


Days after Apple Pay’s debut at checkout counters across the US, Apple CEO Tim Cook bragged it was already more successful than all other mobile payment services combined. Maybe he meant services offered by companies strictly in the mobile payments business. But it’s hard to believe he could have meant Starbucks.

When it announced its quarterly earnings recently, the latte-slinging giant said that 16 percent of US transactions took place via a mobile device—about 7 million mobile payments per week. Compare that figure to Cook’s boast that Apple Pay saw 1 million credit cards registered in the first three days after launch. That’s an impressive number, but to match Starbucks’ total, every single one of those cards would have to be tapped to buy a cup of coffee every single day of the week.

The disparity points to an oversight in the way the rollout of Apple Pay has been covered. Yes, Apple Pay has the best chance of any merchant-agnostic system yet to make in-person paying by phone mainstream. But at Starbucks, it already is.

Coffee Tops TechDuring a call with Wall Street analysts last week, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the number of mobile payments made at its stores was growing by almost 50 percent annually. What’s more, he said, 90 percent of all mobile payments in 2013 were made at Starbucks.

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"90 percent of all mobile payments in 2013 were made at Starbucks."

I find this hard to believe. 90 percent of ALL mobile payments were made at Starbucks? Really??

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