Putting Bitcoin into the hands of mainstream consumers is one thing, but giving them opportunities to spend Bitcoin at convenient locations is a different matter entirely. Despite all of that, Bitcoin beat Apple Pay to the punch when it comes to paying for goods at Starbucks, albeit this happens through the Fold app. But Apple Pay is coming to Starbucks in the near future so that the real competition can begin.
Also read: BitPay Unveils its Ingenico Bitcoin Terminal
Apple Pay: Not Without Flaws Or Issues
It is important to note that Apple Pay will not roll out all across the United States from day one, as there will be a pilot program to kick things off. By the end of 2016, Apple Pay should be an accepted form of payment in roughly 7,500 Starbucks locations all across the United States, which would cover just about any location operated by Starbucks itself.
Apple Pay has been an accepted payment method in Starbucks locations outside of the United States for quite some time now. However, it took while longer before this popular mobile payment method made its way to Starbucks locations near you. So far, over one million US locations have started accepting Apple’s mobile payment method.
Despite this being a strategic partnership with both companies, there is one major drawback: purchases made with Apple Pay will not entitle the customer to Starbucks loyalty rewards. These rewards are tracked through Starbucks’ own mobile application, which operates within its very own ecosystem that has nothing to do with other payment methods.
Since the initial launch of Apple Pay , there have been reports of recurring problems with the mobile payment platform. People residing in London, England, for example, have suffered from being double-charged when commuting on the tube if they carried more than one Apple Pay-enabled device on them while doing so. Those matters were resolved — eventually — yet it took a few weeks to get this bug sorted out.
One major drawback to Apple Pay remains the additional infrastructure required to accept contactless payments. For large brands and retailers, this is not too much of a problem. But for smaller businesses, investing in the additional hardware could prove to be a challenge, as there is no guarantee Apple Pay will be used by any of their customers.
Additionally, Apple pay is just a glorified way of paying with a credit or debit card in the form of a mobile application. In the end, the same security issues plaguing regular credit card transactions are still present within Apple’s mobile payment ecosystem. Furthermore, if there would ever be a major issue or outage on Apple’s end, the entire payment method becomes useless.
Fold’s Bitcoin Purchases Versus Apple Pay
It doesn’t happen often that consumers get an opportunity to spend Bitcoin at major locations before Apple Pay — or other popular mobile payment methods — are introduced. However, for Starbucks customers, they have been able to pay for their orders in Bitcoin for a few months, and get a 20% discount while doing so as well.
This is one major difference between using Bitcoin or Apple Pay when visiting your local Starbucks location. By using Apple Pay, customers not only risk being double-charged, they also won’t receive any discount while doing so. Bitcoin users, on the other hand, will always receive a discount, courtesy of Fold. Both payment methods are available to mobile users, so it will be interesting to see which of the two turns out to be the more popular one in a few months from now.
Furthermore, Fold is working hard to expand its service to other major retailers in the near future. Whole Foods and Target have both been announced a few months ago, and Bitcoin users can expect discounts while using Fold at either location. The exact discount percentage has not been announced yet.
Last but not least, Fold will refund Bitcoin users if their top-up amount is larger than the amount of money spent during their purchase. Payments will be settled within 24 hours after the purchase. Apple Pay users won’t have to top up anything, but the risk of being-double charged — or the barista entering a wrong amount — would see refunds delayed by up to 30 days due to the nature of credit card payments.
Apple users have had the opportunity to pay at Starbucks through the company’s native app — including loyalty rewards — for quite some time now. Those who really enjoy their loyalty rewards will probably keep using the native Starbucks app. Apple is, in theory, in direct competition with its own payment method at Starbucks locations. Whether this will be positive or negative, remains to be seen.
What are your thoughts on Apple Pay coming to Starbucks locations? Have you used the Fold app yet, and if so, what was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: The Verge
Images courtesy of Starbucks, Apple Pay, Fold