After years of resistance, CVS finally flips the switch on Apple Pay

Eric Abent - Oct 11, 2018
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After years of resistance, CVS finally flips the switch on Apple Pay

Over the last few years, support for Apple Pay has slowly spread across the retail landscape. Though it seems to be supported at most large retailers these days, there are still a few hold-outs who have yet to bite. CVS was famously one of these early holdouts, but all of that is changing today, as the nationwide pharmacy chain has finally flipped the switch on Apple Pay support.

What took CVS so long? There’s no official reason, but it likely has something to do with the fact that CVS was an early adopter of CurrentC, a payment system created by the Merchant Customer Exchange. The MCX is itself the product of a consortium of many large retailers here in the US, including companies like CVS, 7-Eleven, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy.

CurrentC never really managed to get off the ground, and slowly but surely, many of those companies that tried to jump start the payment system started supporting NFC payments instead. 9to5Mac notes today that CVS has finally enabled Apple Pay at its stores, something we learned it planned to do back in July. 7-Eleven, for those who may have forgotten, started supporting Apple Pay in September.

Interestingly, 9to5Mac notes that the payment terminals in CVS stores have supported NFC payments for years at this point, but that functionality was disabled quickly after the launch of Apple Pay in 2014. It stayed disabled until today as CVS and its partners attempted to turn CurrentC into a success, so Apple probably counts this as a pretty big victory.

Still, there are some big retailers who continue to say no to Apple Pay, including Walmart and Target. It’ll likely be significantly harder for Apple to woo those retailers, especially Walmart, which already offers its own take on Apple Pay. We’ll see if Apple can eventually bring them into the fold, so stay tuned.


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