Walgreens Officially Launches First Apple Pay Loyalty Rewards Program

Popular retailer Walgreens today announced that its Balance Rewards loyalty program can now be linked with Apple Pay and used by its customers across the country. The partnership will allow Apple Pay users to link their Balance Rewards card with the mobile payments service so they can earn and redeem loyalty points without having to scan their physical Walgreens card. Following Kohl's launch of Apple Pay support for its store-branded credit card, Walgreens is the first retailer to support a loyalty rewards program within Apple Pay.

walgreens_rewards_nfc_featured

“We’re excited to be the first to provide our customers with increased ease of access to their Balance Rewards account and information when using Apple Pay,” said Sona Chawla, president of digital and chief marketing officer for Walgreens. “This offering supports our commitment to removing friction and enabling a simple and convenient customer experience.”

Users simply need to add their Balance Rewards card into the Wallet app, going through the same process as adding a traditional credit or debit card, to be able to use the new feature at Walgreens on an iPhone and Apple Watch. The announcement comes just over a week after NFC abilities were discovered alongside Balance Rewards cards in the Wallet app, hinting at incoming loyalty rewards support from Walgreens.

Related Roundup: Apple Pay

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
58 months ago
So how will this work exactly? Will you have to use apple pay to enter your rewards card and then again to pay? Although this is still cool, it would be awesome if there was a way to do this where one Apple Pay "swipe" is needed and takes care of both the rewards and payments. Of course Kohl's does this by having the rewards and the credit card all in one, but I am thinking about all the other reward cards that are not part of a credit card. Anyway, glad to see progress.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago
Walgreens continues to keep up with the times, I love it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago
I wish more companies would get their acts together and implement Wallet. Especially the ones who already have apps that support their store cards
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago

No more carrying around those stupid reward cards: Albertson's, King Soopers, etc. Now I can see the potential in Apple Pay!

Too bad King Soopers is not on Apple Pay. (or is it in your area?)

I saw that, but I still don't think it's clear. The wording of the announcement leads me to believe that they've just replaced scanning a rewards card (or looking it up by phone number since I never carry mine) with an Apple Pay NFC transaction (but not necessarily a payment transaction).

So to me it seems that the user can use Apple Pay to get provide their rewards program information but then must still execute a payment transaction - NFC or other method.

I'm close to a Walgreens so I will test it today. I'm sure someone else will stop by one first but I still want to try it out.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago

So how will this work exactly? Will you have to use apple pay to enter your rewards card and then again to pay? Although this is still cool, it would be awesome if there was a way to do this where one Apple Pay "swipe" is needed and takes care of both the rewards and payments. Of course Kohl's does this by having the rewards and the credit card all in one, but I am thinking about all the other reward cards that are not part of a credit card. Anyway, glad to see progress.

It's not possible.

Walgreens enabled EMV for NFC transactions, and EMV requires the final purchase amount sent to the "card" (in this case, your phone) for the transaction to be authorized. This is why the NFC reader isn't enabled on the PIN Pads at Walgreens until the cashier finishes scanning your stuff and totals the transaction. Also the same reason why when paying with a chip card at an EMV enabled retailer, you have to wait until the cashier's done before inserting your card whereas before you could swipe while the cashier was scanning. So what this means is ApplePay/Walgreens can't combine the rewards card and payment card into one tap. It needs the rewards card first, then the register has to subtract any discounts you have from it to get the final amount, then that needs to be sent back to the phone to authorize the payment.

Some (okay, most) other retailers are still using MSD mode for NFC transactions. That allows you to tap before the transaction is totaled as it more closely mirrors swiping a card to the terminal and processor and you could theoretically combine rewards and payment into one tap, but MSD is supposed to be going away eventually in favor of EMV. The big difference is EMV NFC, if implemented correctly (and that's a big if because retailers are stupid), will not require you to sign (or enter a PIN for debit) for your purchases because the phone can tell the PIN Pad that you used the phone's fingerprint scanner or PIN to authenticate yourself and you don't need to do it again on the PIN pad
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
58 months ago
I'd love to have all rewards cards go this way. I never bother to carry 99% of them as it makes no sense to carry so many cards in your wallet that you may use just once a year.

I saw that, but I still don't think it's clear. The wording of the announcement leads me to believe that they've just replaced scanning a rewards card (or looking it up by phone number since I never carry mine) with an Apple Pay NFC transaction (but not necessarily a payment transaction).

So to me it seems that the user can use Apple Pay to get provide their rewards program information but then must still execute a payment transaction - NFC or other method.

This is exactly how it works. Apple Pay functionality can be used in place of scanning your rewards card. You will still have to use it again if you want to pay using a credit card with Apple Pay or swipe another card.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

Apple Acquires Weather App Dark Sky

Tuesday March 31, 2020 10:22 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has acquired weather app Dark Sky, Dark Sky's developers announced today. Dark Sky is one of the most popular weather apps on the App Store, known for its accuracy and storm warnings. Our goal has always been to provide the world with the best weather information possible, to help as many people as we can stay dry and safe, and to do so in a way that respects your privacy. There is no ...

Zoom Accused of Misleading Users With 'End-to-End Encryption' Claims Amid Other Security Issues [Updated]

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:47 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Zoom is facing fresh scrutiny today following a report that the videoconferencing app's encryption claims are misleading. Zoom states on its website and in its security white paper that the app supports end-to-end encryption, a term that refers to a way of protecting user content so that the company has no access to it whatsoever. However, an investigation by The Intercept reveals that...

Case for Upcoming Low-Cost iPhone Shows Up at Best Buy With Alleged April 5 Stock Date

Monday March 30, 2020 4:25 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple has a new low-cost iPhone in the works, which is supposed to be launching sometime in the first half of 2020. Given the ongoing situation in the United States and other countries, it's been unclear if the device is going to launch within the planned timeline, but there are signs that it could be coming soon. We started seeing cases for the new low-cost iPhone back in early February,...

Bloomberg: Apple's 5G iPhone Still on Schedule for Fall Launch, But Future Products Could Be Delayed

Monday March 30, 2020 2:40 am PDT by Tim Hardwick
Apple's 5G iPhone is still on track to launch within the company's typical annual fall release schedule, according to a new Bloomberg report on filed on Monday. Signs are that Apple's Chinese-centric manufacturing -- of which Hon Hai is the linchpin -- is slowly getting back on track. The next iPhones with 5G wireless capabilities remain on schedule to launch in the fall, partly because mass...

Testing Brydge's New Pro+ Keyboard With Trackpad for iPad Pro

Monday March 30, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Well ahead of when Apple introduced trackpad support in iOS 13.4, Brydge announced an iPad Pro keyboard with a built-in multi-touch trackpad. We have one of Brydge's new Pro+ keyboards on hand, and thought we'd check it out to see how it works with Apple's new 2020 iPad Pro models. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. The Brydge Pro+ keyboard is similar in design to...

Apple's Work on New Upcoming Products Progressing Normally as Employees Adjust to Telecommuting

Monday March 30, 2020 11:58 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple's development of upcoming products is progressing as usual despite the fact that Apple employees around the world are working from home, according to a new report today out from Bloomberg. Apple is still working on new versions of the HomePod, Apple TV, MacBook Pro, budget iPads, Apple Watch, iPhone, and iMac, all of which could be released "as early as later this year" and have been...

Apple Releases ProRes RAW Beta for Windows

Monday March 30, 2020 9:33 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today released ProRes RAW for Windows in a beta capacity (via Mark Gurman), with the software designed to allow ProRes RAW and ProRes RAW HQ video files to be watched in compatible applications on Windows machines. According to Apple, the software will let the files be played within several Adobe apps: Adobe After Effects (Beta) Adobe Media Encocder (Beta) Adobe Premiere...

Apple Configurator 2 Updated With New Features, Including Support for Restoring Firmware on 2019 Mac Pro

Tuesday March 31, 2020 5:34 am PDT by Joe Rossignol
Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro. The release notes:• Added support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro • Allow access to websites using TLS 1.0 and 1.1 • VPN: Configure Provider Designated Requirement for Custom SSL connection type • VPN: Configure network options for ...

Seemingly Unreleased Version of Logic Pro X With Live Loops Appears on Apple's Education Site [Updated]

Sunday March 29, 2020 7:23 am PDT by Hartley Charlton
Update: Apple has replaced the Logic Pro X image with an older version. Original story follows. A seemingly unreleased version of Logic Pro X has appeared on Apple's education site, as spotted by a Reddit user. The image from Apple's education products page shows a 16-inch MacBook Pro running Logic Pro X, but with a familiar interface that looks extremely similar to GarageBand's Live Loops ...

Apple's 2020 MacBook Air vs. 2020 iPad Pro

Wednesday April 1, 2020 2:45 pm PDT by Juli Clover
Apple in March updated both the MacBook Air and the iPad Pro, and with the iPad Pro increasingly positioned as a computer replacement, we thought we'd compare both new machines to see how they measure up and which one might be a better buy depending on user needs. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. We're comparing the base model 12.9-inch iPad Pro and the base model...