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Apple Pay Will Soon Work at Starbucks, KFC and Chili's (Video)

Apple Pay head Jennifer Bailey broke the news at Code/Mobile.

Asa Mathat

If you’re an Apple Pay fan and a caffeine fiend, you’re in luck. Apple has partnered with Starbucks to let you use Apple Pay for your daily Frappuccino fix. Starting next year you’ll be able to tap and pay with your iPhone or Apple Watch at all Starbucks registers across the country. Some locations will be testing the technology this year in a pilot program.

Apple Pay will also work at two other food retailers — KFC and Chili’s — starting in 2016.

Apple Pay head Jennifer Bailey broke the news Thursday onstage at the Code/Mobile conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif. “[KFC] has a special place in my heart — it was my first job ever,” Bailey said. “We’re seeing a lot of support for quick-service restaurants with a need for fast payment.”

Bailey posited that in the future, food spots like Chili’s might let customers order from the menu and pay via their phones, which would remove the need for some servers and theoretically speed up the process.

When Apple Pay was first launched in October 2014, critics pointed out that it didn’t work at many stores. Over the past year, the company has slowly brought on more merchants — although its coverage is still far from comprehensive — and integrated store loyalty programs to woo customers.

Starbucks already has a hugely successful mobile payments service built into its own app, which accounts for 20 percent of all Starbucks in-store transactions. That service is connected to Starbucks’ loyalty program, meaning people who use their app to pay earn rewards in the process.

Bailey declined to comment whether Starbucks customers who use Apple Pay will earn Starbucks rewards for those transactions. The coffee company previously integrated Apple Pay into its own app as a payment method, but only to refill a customer’s Starbucks Card, not to pay at the register.

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