Apple struck an agreement with mobile payments pioneer Starbucks which means the coffee chain will start testing Apple Pay in some US stores this year.

Reaching agreement with Starbucks is significant not just because of the latter’s scale but also as it offers a highly successful payment service of its own, available via the Starbucks app.

Apple Pay head Jennifer Bailey revealed the agreement at the Code/Mobile conference.

The idea is to have Apple Pay commercially available at all Starbucks branches across the US in 2016.

Unlike Apple Pay, the coffee chain’s own payment service is based on QR codes, not contactless technology.

Bailey declined to spell out how the relationship with Starbucks will work. Currently, Starbucks’ payment service is linked to its loyalty programme, so users paying via its app earn reward points. It’s unclear if Starbucks customers who use Apple Pay will still earn reward points.

Bailey also said Apple Pay will be available next year in two other US chains – KFC and Chili’s.