CVS, Rite Aid stores block Apple Pay

Two of the nation’s top pharmacies are backing out of Apple’s new phone-based payment system, just days after its official launch.

Both CVS and Rite-Aid disabled the Apple Pay service from their stores over the weekend, according to multiple reports.

ADVERTISEMENT

A CVS spokesperson said that the company "cannot accept Apple Pay" or other technologies that use a chip to communicate between a phone and cashier.

"We are in the process of evaluating mobile payment options for our customers," spokesperson Michael DeAngelis added, without going into further detail.

Rite Aid spokeswoman Ashley Flower issued a similar statement, claiming that the company is "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."

The move could be an effort to bolster a rival mobile payment system called CurrentC, which is being developed by retail group the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). Both CVS and Rite Aid are members of MCS and the new CurrentC system is scheduled to launch next year.

Earlier this year, Best Buy and Wal-Mart — which are both part of the MCX consortium — said that they would not be participating in Apple Pay.

Apple’s payment service was formally launched just last week and aims to replace credit cards by allowing people to pay for goods and services at thousands of stores with a tap of their phone.

Unlike the chip-based Apple Pay, the planned CurrentC payment system involves a QR or “quick response” barcode that can be scanned during checkout after shopping.

The Electronic Transactions Association, a lobbying group for the card industry, blasted CVS’s and Rite Aid’s moves as “anti-consumer and anti-competitive.”

“This decision has nothing to do with convenience, reliability, or security,” the trade group said in a statement on Monday, calling it a “deliberate boycott” to support the CurrentC system.

“We call on Rite Aid and CVS to reconsider their misguided attempt to block this innovation and urge consumers to vote with their wallet — mobile or actual — and shop at retailers that aren’t restricting consumer choice,” the association added. 

This story was last updated at 4:31 p.m.