Apple Pay finally overtakes Starbucks in mobile payments

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Apple Pay finally overtakes Starbucks in mobile payments
Starbucks' mobile app was previously the no. 1 mobile payments app.
Photo: Nicky Colman/Flickr CC

Apple Pay is the most popular mobile payment system in the U.S., finally overtaking the Starbucks mobile app to take the crown.

According to eMarketer, 30.3 million users are currently using Apple Pay. Meanwhile, Starbucks’ mobile payment system has around 25.2 million customers.

“‌Apple Pay‌ has benefited from the spread of new point-of-sale (POS) systems that work with the NFC signals ‌Apple Pay‌ runs on,” says eMarketer principal analyst Yory Wurmser. “The same trend should also help Google Pay and Samsung Pay, but they will continue to split the Android market.”

Comparisons with Starbucks aren’t totally fair, of course. Apple Pay is a service that’s designed to be used in all retailers. The Starbucks app, meanwhile, is for, well, Starbucks. It allows users to buy their coffee with the handsets. They can also earn credits that can be used to pay for future purchases. This is carried out using QR codes for payment. It’s additionally helped by the fact that it is available for both iOS and Android, unlike Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay.

eMarketer thinks that total mobile payment spending will approach $100 billion this year. That means spending of approximately $1,545 per user. This is an increase of more than 24% versus 2018. In total, some 64 million people will make use of mobile payments in the U.S. this year.

There’s some additional good news for Apple in the research, too. “Although a growing number of millennials feel secure using payment apps, virtually all still find credit and debit cards equally convenient,” notes eMarketer forecasting analyst Vincent Yip. This should benefit Apple, which launched Apple Card earlier in 2019.

Do you use Apple Pay or Apple Card? How do you find the mobile payment experience? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.