Reports today are saying the pharmacy chain CVS has shut off the NFC-based contactless payment option at point of sale terminals in thousands of stores. The move will make it impossible to pay for products using Apple Pay, or, for that matter, using Google Wallet.
Rite Aid and CVS are both members of the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a rival contactless payment platform started by a group of large retailers. This may be the reason for the chains discontinuing support for Apple Pay.
MCX’s payments technolgy — called “CurrentC” — would do away with credit cards altogether. The user would pay by showing a QR code on their mobile device at the point of sale, and the funds would be pulled directly from a bank account. Retailers like this because it rids them of having to pay credit card fees on all transactions.
Other retailer members of MCX include Gap, Old Navy, 7-Eleven, Kohls, Lowes, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sam’s Club, Sears, Kmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Banana Republic, Stop & Shop, and Wendy’s.
Slashgear reports that Rite Aid sent a memo to employees instructing them to explain to customers that Apple Pay is not supported but that MCX’s solution will be available next year.
The biggest pharmacy chain in the U.S., Walgreens, is going full steam ahead with support for Apple Pay.