Initially reported by MacRumors, CVS and Rite Aid have both begun blocking the use of Apple Pay and Google Wallet at their NFC payment terminals. Apple Pay launched this past Monday, and we’ve seen a number of people tweeting and socializing about one of Apple’s latest feature. It is no wonder that customers are becoming confused and frustrated that within a week of its release, these two retailers have opted to block the service.
It appears that this was, indeed, an intentional move by both CVS and Right Aid due to their participation in the Merchant Customer Exchange program. As reported by Business Insider, Merchant Customer Exchange is a 3rd party service that is working on creating its own form of mobile payment that is set to release in 2015. A detailed email was released by a CVS employee that explained that Apple Pay and Google Wallet are being disabled and how to deal with customer concerns.
This is an interesting move considering that both chains have supported NFC terminals for payment for some time including Google Wallet, which was released by Android over 2 years ago. The question remains as to why the company decided to disable it now, a week after users have had time to benefit from the service; even longer if the individual is a Google Wallet user.
It is even more interesting that the retailers are shutting down a form of payment. If there is one sure-fire way to decrease revenue, it is to decrease the ways in which customers can bring money into the store. That partnership with Merchant Customer Exchange must be pretty promising and lucrative for them to be exhibiting such behavior.