More than a year ago, CVS was one of 2 notable companies (the other being Rite Aid) who decided to shun the emergence of mobile payments through the advent of NFC. They shut down the NFC portion of their card readers in their stores, which effectively killed off the possibility of using Android Pay (as well as Apple’s counterpart).
So, what’s going on with all these reports that the company is lighting stores back up with support for NFC devices? We’re not sure. There have only been a smattering of these reports, but enough so that it warrants a line into CVS to see whether they’ve changed their mind.
While CVS never confirmed this, the belief at the time of the original blockade was that they turned off NFC to back the technology of a consortium they’d previously joined for mobile payments. CurrentC — as it’s called — prefers a QR code system that would make mobile payments accessible to anyone who has a camera phone instead of limiting it to those who have phones with NFC chips.
So, would the acceptance of Android Pay spell doom for CurrentC? It’s tough to say, but we’re going to tip toward the side of “no.” The Merchant Customer Exchange (which is the consortium of retailers responsible for CurrentC) has had a tough time getting the platform off the ground. After a missed 2015 launch and field testing only being completed as late as June 2016, it would seem that any retailers who were anticipating the launch of CurrentC to offer mobile payments are being left in the dust by those who are already with the times.
Thus, it’s plausible to suggest — if the reports are real — that CVS is giving Android Pay users the green light so they won’t all run to Walgreens out of frustration, because believe it or not, a lot of people alter their shopping preferences based on how they are able to pay. We’ll update this post if CVS has anything to share. In the meantime, let us know if you’ve tried Android Pay at CVS recently, and whether it worked like the olden days.