You can now use Apple Pay at CVS Pharmacy, Apple has announced. Tim Cook noted that support would be coming for the US-based drugstore chain as well as 7-Eleven in an investor call earlier this year. 7-Eleven made the transition in early September. Strangely, as 9to5Mac notes, the stores have had the kinds of terminals that accept Apple Pay for a while, but theyve just had the NFC functionality disabled. Thats because CVS and 7-Eleven were once on board with a rival payment system called CurrentC, which was developed by a consortium of merchants. Todays move leaves Target and Walmart — also early members of CurrentC — as the two biggest US retailers that dont yet support Apples mobile payment technology in stores. Costco added Apple Pay support in August.
The popular drugstore chain has held out for a long time. Back in July, Tim Cook revealed that Apple Pay would finally be coming to CVS. And now it's finally happened: You can now use the payment method to purchase items at the popular drugstore chain. 9to5Mac notes that CVS's payment terminals have had NFC capability for years; the company actually turned it off to prevent customers from using Apple Pay. This is because CVS was a member of Merchant Customer Exchange, which was behind a proprietary mobile payment format called CurrentC. Companies that adopted CurrentC turned off NFC payment capabilities in order to encourage adoption. However, CurrentC was clunky to use; it involved scanning a QR code, which is much less seamless than Apple Pay's current system. As a result, it never established a large user base, and in 2017, JP Morgan bought the tech, which was its effective end as a payment system. In other words, CVS gambled on a payment system that didn't work and is now having to relent and accept Apple Pay.