“Reward program integration could give Apple Pay a competitive advantage against rivals like Samsung Pay and Android Pay”
America’s biggest drugstore chain has become the first to integrate its rewards program into the Apple Pay mPayment platform. Walgreens customers can now upload their Balance Rewards cards to their iOS digital wallets, and the full benefits of the loyalty program will be available upon checkout via iPhone or Apple Watch.
In a statement announcing the integration, Walgreens digital and marketing executive Sona Chawla said it “supports our commitment to removing friction and enabling a simple and convenient customer experience.” Indeed, this is the same logic usually cited by companies when they offer Apple Pay support generally, and many more merchants can be expected to follow suit going forward.
Reward program integration could give Apple Pay a competitive advantage against rivals like Samsung Pay and Android Pay, but it will likely be short-lived, as they will be eager introduce their own such integrations too. Meanwhile, it’s still unclear whether Apple ever intends to roll out a more broad rewards program for the use of Apple Pay generally, as had been rumored earlier this year. As mPayment competition heats up, though, that remains a possibility.