Rite Aid announced today that all of the Company’s almost 4,600 stores nationwide will begin accepting mobile payments, including Apple PayTM and Google Wallet TM, starting Saturday, August 15. With more chains hopping onboard, we’ll cross our fingers that mobile payments continue to grow in popularity. The move comes almost a year after the chain disabled its support for contactless payments in its retail stores.
CEO of Rite Aid, Ken Martindale, said in a press release that customers are increasingly seeking out mobile technologies in several facets of their life, including shopping.
Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), a consortium of retailers that have been supposedly working on a rival mobile payments service called CurrentC.
Other MCX members have similarly announced upcoming support for Apple Pay despite previously resisting in favor of backing CurrentC exclusively.
I can personally vouch for that, having passed by RiteAids a number of times in the past year only to make purchases at Walgreens, which accepts Apple Pay, Google Wallet and my chip-enabled American Express card, depending on which device or cards I have with me.
CurrentC deviates from Apple Pay in significant ways: It doesn’t use NFC, it doesn’t require fingerprint authentication to verify transactions, and the service stores your financial data encrypted in the cloud, rather than storing the details in a physical chip, the Secure Element, in your phone. With CurrentC exclusivity ending, companies don’t have much of a reason to avoid offering Apple Pay as an option.