Starbucks is the most popular payment-system app according to data research firm eMarketer. The premium-coffee chain’s app was used by 20.7 million people at least once every six months last year making it the most widely-used mobile payment system. The app beat out Apple Pay, which was used by 19.9 million people. Google Pay and Samsung Pay rounded out the top four with 9.3 million and 8.4 million users respectively.
All told, 48 million people used one or more of the mobile apps last year. That number is expected to rise 15% to 55 million this year.
Apple and Google have been vying for the top spot in the payment-app space as well as for general adoption of their payment systems. Mobile payment apps are showing signs of taking off after years of marketing and technological efforts. The introduction of chip-enabled credit cards, which slow down checkout times for regular credit card users, have enabled the growth.
The success of Starbucks’ app can be directly linked to the benefits that accrue to the customers who use it, says eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu. “For users of the app, the value of paying with their smartphone is clear and simple—you can save time and money at the register, all while racking up rewards and special offers,” Liu writes in the report.
It remains to be seen whether Starbucks will be able to maintain its top rank in the field with other major retailers having recently unveiled their mobile payment systems. Walmart, McDonald’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and Target have all launched payment-system apps.
“Retailers are increasingly creating their own payment apps, which allow them to capture valuable data about their users. They can also build in rewards and perks to boost customer loyalty,” Liu said.
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