You Actually Can’t Use Apple Pay To Buy A Latte At Starbucks


Starbucks has become practically synonymous with mobile payments, thanks to its innovative app which lets you buy coffee with money stored on a prepaid card.

So people got excited when Apple CEO Tim Cook flashed the Starbucks logo on the screen while talking about Apple Pay at a product-launch event Thursday.

In fact, Apple had previously announced Starbucks as an Apple Pay partner in September. But the details, now that we know more of them, are a little disappointing.

See also: What Apple Announced At Its Thursday iPad Event

You can’t buy a latte with your iPhone 6. Starbucks is only supporting the in-app version of Apple Pay. It will be “primarily for loading and reloading” your Starbucks Card, says Maggie Jantzen, a Starbucks spokesperson. Starbucks stores don’t currently have the NFC technology needed to make use of Apple’s tap-to-pay feature.

Starbucks is not actually a launch partner for Apple Pay. Apple Pay is launching Monday, October 20. But Jantzen says the reloading feature will be available “in the coming months.”

Using Apple Pay this way is actually kind of stupid. Consider these two options:

  • Launch Starbucks app. Go to account settings. Tap to reload card. Select Apple Pay as a payment option. Authenticate with your fingerprint. Tap to verify the transaction. Pay at the register with the Starbucks app.
  • Set your Starbucks Card up for automatic reload. Pay at the register with Starbucks app.

Why would anyone pick the first one?

See also: You Can Start Paying With Apple Pay On Monday

The bottom line: Apple Pay will save you from having to enter in your credit- or debit-card number if you need to reload your Starbucks Card. But you’re far better off just using the Starbucks app and keeping your card on file for automatic reloads. And it changes nothing about how you actually pay for your latte.

Photo by Kayla Kandzorra

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