CVS, Rite Aid Chains Kill Apple Pay in Favor of Proprietary System

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2014-10-27 Print this article Print
Apple Pay Block

Likewise, credit card customers can challenge what they claim are fraudulent charges. Because CurrentC is debit-card based, consumers don't have those protections, and while banks will usually not make customers pay for fraudulent charges, there's no requirement that they do this.

In addition, because of the way CurrentC is structured, customers are responsible for charges if their phone is lost or stolen. There's no protection against fraudulent use, such as Apple Pay provides by requiring a fingerprint. While CurrentC will tokenize the transaction in a manner similar to Apple Pay, it doesn't offer real protection for consumers against the transfer of otherwise private information.

This means, for example, that any health-related information collected by CurrentC can be passed along to anyone else that MCX wishes to pass it along to. Apple Pay, by contrast, passes no personal information to merchants, not even the customer name.

Understandably, the credit card companies are less than thrilled by the action of CVS and Rite Aid. "We believe that people should be able to choose how they want to pay. We are disappointed that both Rite Aid and CVS have decided to block their customers from using the payment method of their choice by turning off the convenience of contactless acceptance terminals and declining transactions made with contactless, including Apple Pay," a MasterCard spokesperson told eWEEK via an email message.

"Acceptance of all payment methods whether a physical card or a contactless-enabled device provides customers with the ability to conduct a secure transaction in the way they choose," the spokesperson wrote.

MCX did not respond to repeated attempts for a comment.

The move to block contactless payments including Apple Pay and Google Wallet are apparently part of the deal that goes with setting up CurrentC. The deal reportedly includes a requirement that participants in MCX not accept any other mobile payment method. Because of this, the drugstore chains apparently decided to pull the plug (although neither company is commenting as yet).

However, the requirement may not be universal. Target, for example, is a member of MCX, but is also a launch partner with Apple for Apple Pay. No doubt Apple Pay's security has trumped any deal with MCX, considering Target's battered credit card history. In this case, Target provides a positive example by showing that it's certainly possible to support both methods.

There is, of course, no technical reason why Apple Pay and CurrentC are mutually exclusive, but that's because the real reason is a self-centered attempt to reduce consumer choice by forcing businesses to pick one or the other. It doesn't need to be this way, at least not unless you're a huge retailer that's more interested in having a couple of percent more added to the bottom line than in providing customer satisfaction.


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