Apple Pay users can now earn loyalty points towards free meals, drinks and other perks at 85 restaurant and fast food chains through the app.
Apple Pay has been added to Punchh’s Restaurant Marketing Cloud; a platform for restaurant loyalty programs, a press release indicates. Apple Pay users will be able to accumulate and use points through Apple Wallet using the app.
The participating restaurants include El Pollo Loco, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Quiznos, Smashburger, Pieology and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. The only major national brand listed here is Quizno the popular sandwich chain. To become widely accepted Punchh will have to get a major restaurant chain such as Denny’s or a fast-food giant like McDonald’s to its app.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) is adding features like loyalty points to its digital wallet because many major retailers are not accepting the solution. To become widely accepted Apple Pay will need to offer loyalty points for a major supermarket operator like Kroger (NYSE: KR), or Safeway. Since neither of those chains is accepting Apple Pay that is not likely.
Adding loyalty programs gives retailers another reason to accept Apple Pay. It also puts pressure on Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) to start accepting loyalty programs and retailer solutions like Walmart Pay.
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Apple Pay is facing growing competition from new entrees into the market such as Ant Financial’s Alipay; which is now available in America, and Chase Pay which is being rolled out nationwide.
Something Apple needs to work on is getting more major brands to accept the App. No major new retailers have been added to the app in months. The list of brands that accept Apple Pay at the company’s website remains unchanged from a few months ago.
Currently Walgreens (NASDAQ: WBA) is the only major US retailer to have integrated a loyalty program with Apple Pay. Convincing companies like Kroger to add their loyalty programs to Apple Pay is going to be one of Apple’s most important goals in the near future.