CVS Stores Reportedly Disabling NFC to Shut Down Apple Pay and Google Wallet

cvs_logoEarlier this week, pharmacy chain Rite Aid shut down unofficial support for the Apple Pay and Google Wallet mobile payments systems, resulting in an outcry from users who have been testing out Apple's new system since its launch on Monday. Rite Aid was not an official Apple Pay partner, but the payments system generally works with existing near field communications (NFC) payment terminals anyway, and many users had had success using Apple Pay at Rite Aid stores early in the week.

It now appears that fellow major pharmacy chain CVS is following suit and as of today is shutting down the NFC functionality of its payment terminals entirely, a move presumably intended to thwart Apple Pay. Google Wallet services are obviously also being affected by the move.

Multiple reports on Twitter and the MacRumors forums have indicated that CVS has sent an email to its stores indicating that NFC support is to be turned off. It is still relatively early in the day in the U.S., but we are now starting to see reports of NFC indeed being turned off at CVS stores.

The reason behind Rite Aid's and CVS's moves to disable unofficial Apple Pay support in their stores is presumably related to their participation in Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a retailer group developing its own mobile payments system known as CurrentC. A claimed internal Rite Aid message shared with SlashGear supports this notion, instructing cashiers to explain to customers that Apple Pay is not supported but that MCX's solution will be available next year.

cvs_apple_pay_note

Rite Aid internal memo regarding Apple Pay

Rite Aid's and CVS's moves are also in stark contrast to competitor Walgreens, which has fully embraced Apple Pay and is one of Apple's launch partners for the service. With over 8,000 stores around the United States, Walgreens has been one of the most popular locations for those testing out Apple Pay over the first week of availability.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay
Tag: CVS

Top Rated Comments

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77 months ago
Why the hell would I want to use their mobile wallet versus Apple Pay? I'll go to Walgreens across the street, thanks.
Score: 233 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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77 months ago
Well, I'll just take my business elsewhere :)
Score: 195 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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77 months ago
I don't shop there but I suspect some will stop shopping there now, like they did Rite Aid. Just why would you stop money coming into your business?
Score: 176 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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77 months ago
I have been a CVS customer for YEARS. Going to switch to Walgreens. This is ridiculous.
Score: 173 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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77 months ago
Welp, now I know I'm going to Walgreens whenever i need something from a drugstore.

And for those who insist on saying that "Apple users don't rule the world," that's now what this is about. A payment system of ANY kind cannot work if merchants intentionally to choose to fragment things. This is just as if RiteAid/CVS decided they accept Visa and MasterCard, but ONLY Visas from Bank of America, or Mastercards from CapitalOne. Not because of some inherent issue with the technology, but SOLELY because they decided that they want to impose their own.

Apple doesn't force merchants to not accept other forms of payment. CVS and RiteAid should at least act in good faith and do the same.
Score: 137 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
77 months ago
Shooting themselves in the foot.
Score: 132 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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