CVS Says it Can't Take Apple Pay, Evaluating Options

CVS, along with Rite Aid, disabled their in-store NFC mobile payment systems after the launch of Apple Pay, blocking both iPhones and Google Wallet-compatible Android phones from acting as credit cards. CVS now has a statement out saying it can't accept those payment forms.

CVS says it can't take Apple Pay or Google Wallet paymentsCVS says it can't take Apple Pay or Google Wallet payments

CVS's statement to CNBC:

At this time, CVS/pharmacy cannot accept Apple Pay or other mobile payments that use NFC technology. We are in the process of evaluating mobile payment options for our customers.

"Cannot" seems like it may not be the word CVS was looking for because some iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus owners were able to use Apple Pay to make purchases shortly after the feature was enabled. A few days later, both pharmacy chains had disabled NFC at their payment terminals, blocking both Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

Apple Pay is a mobile credit card payment platform that links user's iPhone 6 or 6 Plus to their credit cards. A built-in NFC chip lets the new iPhone model handle credit card transactions so users don't have to pull their cards out of their wallets.

CVS's decision to block NFC payment isn't in customer's best interests, but does keep the company in compliance with the exclusivity clause that's part of their deal with MCX's CurrentC payment system. CurrentC, due to launch some time in 2015, links directly to user's bank accounts and relies on an app to display a QR code retailers scan for payment.

CurrentC takes credit card companies out of the mix, and puts all of the responsibility for fraud protection on customer's shoulders. It also tracks customer purchases in detail and provides that information to the companies that have signed on to use the system.

Complying with the CurrentC's contract terms is in the best interest of CVS from a legal standpoint, but potentially alienates customers in the process. Hopefully the company's evaluation of options will find a way to support NFC payments along side CurrentC, otherwise customers may start shopping at competitors who are Apple Pay friendly.