U.S. drugstore giant Rite Aid will accept Apple Pay starting Saturday. The move comes nearly a year after the chain disabled its support for contactless payments in its retail stores.
That means customers who use Apple Pay on the iPhone 6 will be able to use it at all of Rite Aid’s 4,600 stores across the country. Additionally, Rite Aid will begin accepting other contactless payment options, including tap-to-pay credit cards and Google’s upcoming Android Pay.
"Increasingly, consumers are actively seeking out and incorporating mobile technology into many facets of their life, including their shopping and purchasing decisions," Ken Martindale, CEO of Rite Aid Stores and president of Rite Aid Corporation, said in a statement. "By accepting mobile payments, we're able to offer Rite Aid customers an easy and convenient checkout process, which we know is important to them.”
Following the launch of Apple Pay in October, Rite Aid and CVS Health quickly disabled the contactless payment features of its credit card terminals. “Given that we are still in the process of evaluating our mobile payment options, Rite Aid does not currently accept Apple Pay,” Ashley Flower, Rite Aid's senior manager of public relations, said in a previous statement.
But a leaked internal document obtained by Slash Gear last year revealed that the move was in part due to a launch of its own mobile wallet in 2015. The memo didn’t specify the wallet’s name. At the time it was speculated that the document was pointing toward CurrentC -- a mobile payment service that uses quick response (QR) codes instead of wireless near-field communication (NFC) to make payment transactions. The group backing CurrentC is Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of merchants such as Walmart, Best Buy, Rite Aid, CVS Pharmacy, Kohls and more.
In recent months, several MCX members said they have plans to accept Apple Pay. Best Buy supports the feature for in-app purchases and will accept it in stores this fall. Dunkin' Donuts and Kohls will be among the next MCX members to support it.