Last week, multiple reports indicated that pharmacy chains CVS and Rite Aid were disabling near field communications (NFC) payment terminals at some of their locations in order to stop the use of Apple Pay. Now, The New York Times reports that both drug chains have officially disabled Apple Pay from working at their stores nationwide.
A spokeswoman for Rite Aid said that the company "does not currently accept Apple Pay" and that the company was "still in the process of evaluating mobile payment options." Representatives from CVS did not respond to interview requests from The New York Times. Apple declined to comment on the actions from both stores. However, chief emerging payments officer at MasterCard Ed McLaughlin said that "consumers should have the ability to pay any way they want" and that the company "looks forward to [CVS and Rite Aid] turning on the functionality back on in their stores."
Many believe that Rite Aid's and CVS's moves to disable Apple Pay support is related to their participation in the Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), which is a group consisting of other retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, and Gap. MCX is developing its own mobile payment system known as CurrentC, which will be available next year according to a claimed internal Rite Aid message.
Apple Pay launched last week and is accepted at over 200,000 locations in the U.S. Rite Aid and CVS competitor Walgreens has been one of the biggest supporters of Apple Pay, as the feature is available at many of its over 8,000 stores around the United States.