Starbucks is rolling out an updated iPhone app today that will finally enable Apple Pay.
The Seattle coffee chain was one of the first retailers to say it would support Apple’s payments service when it was first announced in October. But even after taking months to roll it out, the update stops short of fully utilizing its benefits.
Rather than enable payments to be made with a tap of the phone at the register, customers will only be able to use Apple Pay to reload gift cards stored on their phone.
A Starbucks spokeswoman confirmed this afternoon that the update started rolling out this morning, and that for now, Apple Pay would be limited to reloading gift cards.
While the Starbucks app is one of the most successful mobile payment programs to date, it uses barcodes, not NFC technology, like Apple Pay. At this time, the Starbucks doesn’t have the correct technology installed at the register to integrate Apple Pay completely.
In December, Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman told GeekWire the company is not opposed to implementing Apple Pay. “We are strongly considering the whole world of NFC,” he said. “We are fans of it, and whatever our customers want, we’ll incorporate into our system.”