Rite Aid and CVS block Apple Pay

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Rite Aid and CVS have joined some of the world’s biggest retailers in shunning the new Apple Pay system.

Earlier this month, Apple Pay was introduced to more than 220,000 stores, but retailers such as Best Buy, Target, 7-Eleven and Walmart were not among Apple’s long list of partners.

These retail giants are part of a group known as the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX). MCX has been developing CurrentC, a mobile payment scheme that could compete with Apple Pay. CurrentC is expected to be rolled out to 110,000 stores next year.

“It will offer merchants new and exciting channels to engage with customers, strengthen relationships, and enjoy more control of transaction data,” said Dekkers Davidson, chief executive officer of MCX.

While Rite Aid and CVS initially supported Apple Pay, the drugstore chains have since disabled or altered their Near Field Communication (NFC) readers so that Apple Pay cannot be used in their stores. Both Rite Aid and CVS are also part of MCX.

Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, said there are plenty of other retailers who have signed up.

“We’ve got a lot more merchants to sign up, we’ve got a lot of banks to sign up and we’ve got the rest of the world,” said Cook. He noted that retailers risk alienating customers when they limit the payment options available at checkout.

Cook also described the decision as a “skirmish”, saying that “merchants have different objectives sometimes. But in the long arc of time, you only are relevant as a retailer or merchant if your customers love you.”

Apple Pay saw more than one million credit cards registered during its first 72 hours, and the system racks up more transactions than all other contactless payment methods combined, said Cook, citing data from MasterCard and Visa.

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