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

2457282 Avatar
87 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)
Jbs541 Avatar
87 months ago
Walgreens continues to keep up with the times, I love it.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ConnYoungy Avatar
87 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)
gsmornot Avatar
87 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)
yg17 Avatar
87 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)
OldSchoolMacGuy Avatar
87 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)

Popular Stories

top stories 2jul2022

Top Stories: M2 MacBook Air Release Date, New HomePod Rumor, and More

Saturday July 2, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
The M2 MacBook Pro has started making its way into customers' hands and we're learning more about how it performs in a variety of situations, but all eyes are really on the upcoming M2 MacBook Air which has seen a complete redesign and should be arriving in a couple of weeks. Other top stories this week included a host of product rumors including additional M2 and even M3 Macs, an updated...
Mac Studio IO

Apple Begins Selling Refurbished Mac Studio Models

Thursday June 30, 2022 7:42 pm PDT by
Apple today began selling refurbished Mac Studio models for the first time in the United States, Canada, and select European countries, such as Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. In the United States, two refurbished Mac Studio configurations are currently available, including one with the M1 Max chip (10-core CPU and 24-core GPU) for...
macbook air m2

Exclusive: Apple Plans to Launch MacBook Air With M2 Chip on July 15

Wednesday June 29, 2022 5:23 pm PDT by
The redesigned MacBook Air with the all-new M2 Apple silicon chip will be available for customers starting Friday, July 15, MacRumors has learned from a retail source. The new MacBook Air was announced and previewed during WWDC earlier this month, with Apple stating availability will begin in July. The MacBook Air features a redesigned body that is thinner and lighter than the previous...
13 inch macbook pro m2 mock feature 2

M2 MacBook Pro Much Slower Than Previous Model

Friday July 1, 2022 2:24 am PDT by
Apple's new 13-inch MacBook Pro with the M2 chip features a significantly slower SSD compared to the previous model, resulting in poorer performance in some workflows, it has been discovered. Specifically, it has been found that the $1,299 base model with 256GB of storage has significantly slower SSD read and write speeds compared to the equivalent previous-generation 13-inch MacBook Pro....