Two major US pharmacies have dropped Apple Pay in the last week, according to an article by Paul Ausick in USA Today. Rite Aid Inc. stopped accepting payments from the mobile commerce platform last Thursday, and CVS Health made the same move on Saturday.
Both pharmacies have opted instead for a mobile commerce system called CurrentC, developed by Merchant Consumer Exchange (MCX). Unlike Apple Pay, the CurrentC system doesn’t require NFC (Near Field Communication) readers at retailers’ POS; instead, it requires consumers to use their mobile devices to scan codes printed on the merchants’ receipts. Because it doesn’t require merchants to install new hardware, it has short-term appeal for these pharmacies and bigger retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy, who also have so far eschewed Apple Pay.
The thing is, next year US retailers are going to be facing the same industry standards currently in place in Canada, where merchants who don’t have NFC technology installed at their POS are liable for fraudulent transactions. That’s why many other retailers are embracing Apple Pay now; they want to get ahead of the curve. NFC is going to be the norm in retail, and a lot of consumers are going to be using Apple Pay, so while they can avoid it for now, sooner or later their bottom line is probably going to require them to embrace it. As Ausick notes in his article, “it’s a consumer-driven world and they just live in it.”