Rite Aid Sees the Light, Joins the Apple Pay Fan Club

It took the better part of a year, but Rite Aid has finally reversed its stance and will begin accepting Apple Pay at its retail locations starting August 15. That adds another 4,600 locations around the U.S. where iPhone and Apple Watch owners can pay without pulling out their credit card, and puts another nail in the coffin for the still MIA CurrentC.

Rite Aid gets Apple Pay support this SaturdayRite Aid gets Apple Pay support this Saturday

Rite Aid drew the ire of iPhone owners and TMO's own Kelly Guimont last October when it shut off the NFC support, which shut down its ability to accept cardless payments via Apple Pay and Google Wallet. The retailer made the move to comply with the terms of its contract with CurrentC.

CurrentC is a competing wireless transaction system for retailers backed by a conglomeration that includes WalMart, Best Buy, Target, and several other companies. Instead of securely linking to user's credit cards, CurrentC links directly to bank accounts and relies on QR codes and extra apps to process transactions. The system was created by retailers to meet their needs outside of traditional credit card payment systems and sidelines the customer experience.

Since the contracts retailers were bound by prohibited them from accepting other wireless payment forms, Rite Aid and many other companies had to shut off NFC at their cash registers. That in turn drove many new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners to seek out other retailers.

The salt in the wound for many CurrentC partners is that the system they signed up to support still hasn't launched. Interest at the consumer level was never very high, and security breach into CurrentC's servers didn't do anything to instill a sense of confidence in the system.

With Rite Aid now ready to start accepting Apple Pay it's a safe bet the contractual obligation limitation it was under has expired, and CurrentC's pipe dream hopes of becoming the dominant mobile payment system are fading away one retailer at a time.