CVS, Rite Aid Blocking Apple Pay and Google Wallet

Posted by at 11:16 am on October 27, 2014

CVS and Rite Aid have disabled the NFC-based payment systems within their stores, effectively preventing consumers from using Apple Pay or Google Wallet on Android to make tap-and-go payments.

Spokesperson Ashley Flower said Rite Air “does not currently accept Apple Pay” and that Rite Aid is “still in the process of evaluating out mobile payment options.” CVS did not provide a comment, but Apple Pay worked in CVS stores when the service launched on October 20 and and ceased to work over the weekend. Neither CVS nor Rite Aid was ever officially named by Apple as an Apple Pay supporter, but both have NFC-equipped payment terminals in their retail locations.

Though neither company said why they don’t support Apple Pay, some believe it is because they are backing a rival mobile payment system being developed by the Merchant Customer Exchange. The MCX launched in 2012 with the goal of creating a mobile payment service for smartphones. The MCX app is not expected to reach consumers until next year.

The original list of supporters included 7-Eleven, Alon Brands, CVS/Pharmacy, Darden Restaurants, HMSHost, Hy-Vee, Lowe’s, Publix Super Markets, Sears, Shell Oil, and Sunoco, though an unknown number of organizations have joined since 2012. According to the New York Times, MCX’s app will be called CurrentC and involves scanning a QR code on the phone’s display. Apple Pay is simpler to use, as consumers don’t even have to wake their phones to make payments.

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