Apple Pay/Pharmacy Flap Shows Consumer Interest in M-Wallets (Oct. 27, 2014)
Consumers who want to use Apple Pay at the POS may be a little confused as two large pharmacy chains reportedly accepted some initial payments with the mobile wallet that went live last week, but no longer are. CVS/pharmacy and Rite Aid reportedly have modified their POS terminals, rendering them unable to process purchases with Apple Pay—or any NFC-based payment method. Forbes, among other news outlets, is reporting that POS systems at CVS and Rite Aid initially were accepting purchases using Apple Pay.
“At this time, CVS/pharmacy cannot accept Apple Pay or other mobile payments that use NFC technology, a CVS spokesperson tells Paybefore. “We are in the process of evaluating mobile payment options for our customers.”
A Rite Aid spokesperson gave a similar response. “Given that we are still in the process of evaluating our mobile payment options, Rite Aid does not currently accept Apple Pay,” she says. “We are continually evaluating various forms of mobile payment technologies and are committed to offering convenient, reliable and secure payment methods that meet the needs of our customers.”
One potential problem for the retailers, according to Todd Ablowitz, president, Double Diamond Group, is that they reportedly failed to block Apple Pay transactions on Day One. “Now the narrative is ‘Apple Pay turned off by CVS and Rite Aid,’ rather than the much more favorable ‘Apple Pay not accepted many places, including CVS and Rite Aid.’”
Rite Aid and CVS are members of Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the retailer-led mobile payments consortium formed in 2012. Other members of the consortium include 7-Eleven, Best Buy Co., Darden Restaurants, Lowe’s, Target Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores.
Ablowitz says the retailers’ stance goes against the “axiom that businesses want to be paid in whatever way their customers want to—at a price that the retailers can live with.” The silver lining, he suggests, is that the buzz about Apple Pay acceptance speaks to consumers’ interest in paying with their handsets. “Apple has a brand loyalty that is hard to match, and it appears the launch of Apple Pay was extremely well-received.”
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