back to article The DRUGSTORES DON'T WORK, CVS makes IT WORSE ... for Apple Pay

Apple Pay has reportedly been refused by not one but two leading US main-street pharmacies - apparently because their parent company is developing its own payment system. According to MacRumors, the large Stateside pharmacy CVS killed its near field communications (NFC) terminals just days after it was claimed that drugstore …

  1. K

    The store check-out experience

    Clerk: Sir, that will be $845.34

    Customer: Which app do I need to download to make payment?

    Then the experience really shines.. as you wait 15 minutes for the App to download on a 2G connection, or spend 15 minutes trying to connect to the stores flakey "free WIFI".

    Makes me wonder what happened to the promise of modern technology bringing convenience to our lives!

    1. John Bailey

      Re: The store check-out experience

      Clerk: Sir, that will be $845.34

      Customer: general small talk as they remove their card from their wallet, place it in the reader, and enter their pin.

      Clerk: Thank you very much sir.. Have a nice day.

      Pouting iPhone user: Puts things back on shelves, and goes to see if the Apple store will do cashback.

      1. Cliff

        Re: The store check-out experience

        The good thing about Apple doing this is that they may have been able to force some doors open, and then we could have had multi-system support instead of further fragmentation.

        That said, I pay by bonk using a thin plastic card that's quite convenient compared with having to unlock my phablet and trust in the network and battery...

      2. Mike Bell

        Re: The store check-out experience

        general small talk as they remove their card from their wallet, place it in the reader, and enter their pin.

        Don't be silly. Americans don't have Chip & PIN.

        1. John Bailey

          Re: The store check-out experience

          "Don't be silly. Americans don't have Chip & PIN."

          And it seems.. no pay by bendy bonk either.

        2. wayne 8

          Re: The store check-out experience

          Bank Debit cards - enter the PIN to get cash back at POS.

        3. chemnerd

          Re: The store check-out experience

          But we ugly Americans do have debit cards which require pins for a debit transaction.

    2. thomas k.

      Re: modern technology bringing convenience to our lives!

      Well ... we don't have to drive to the adult bookstore anymore to get our pr0n. That's convenient.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: modern technology bringing convenience to our lives!

        Where pay-per-bonk has a whole new meaning

    3. Trigonoceps occipitalis

      Re: The store check-out experience

      And then you realise that the data roaming charges are $8453.40.

    4. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: The store check-out experience

      In the UK, pay by bonk is only available for transactions under £20, so you would have to use your card in the traditional manner.

      1. Neoc

        Re: The store check-out experience

        Interesting. Here in OZ it's AU$100 or lower (about £55). And it still works if it's over that amount - you just have to enter your pin after waving your card over the scanner.

    5. Apul_MadeeqAoud

      Re: The store check-out experience

      Never mind, I'll just pay cash [reaches into wallet...].

  2. chivo243 Silver badge

    Tim Says

    Damn you CVS, I was counting on that new ivory back scratcher.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Sampler

    This is what annoys me..

    ..about mobile payments.

    Google wallet was introduced years ago but could I use it? No, because my airtime provider were developing their own (now passed up on and forgotten) so they blocked Google's move preventing customers from doing what they wanted.

    Now we have the other side doing exactly the same, all profiteering placed ahead of customers being able to simplify theirs lives.

  5. adfh

    Meanwhile I'm just using my EMV VISA card...

  6. Mike Bell

    This is going to kill their business

    Never underestimate the purchasing power of an enraged fanboi. Judging by the thousands of forum comments, they're going to all walk across the road to an omnipresent competitor going by the name of Walgreens.

    1. James O'Shea

      Re: This is going to kill their business

      Around here, all the major supermarket chains have pharmacies in house. It's actually easier to get to my local Publix than to the nearest CVS. (Roughly two miles for either one, but it's one traffic light and a right turn to get to the Publix while it's two traffic lights, two left turns, and a right turn to get to the CVS.) Publix takes NFC and has not, so far as I know, taken action to block Apple Pay (or Google Wallet, for that matter). Better yet, the nearest Walgreens is literally across the road from the Publix; I have to pass it to get to the Publix when driving from my house. I only go near the CVS when there's something I need which isn't available at either Publix or Walgreens. Which means I haven't set foot in that CVS in the better part of a year. So I won't care if they block NFC.

  7. LosD

    This just shows the idiocy of non-standard payment systems.

    If you want to do anything involved with payment, you should be forced to open it up and any kind of exclusive arrangement should be banned. Any "you MUST use this piece of hardware, alternatives are outlawed by patents or shut out by secrecy, software or deals" should not only be illegal, but get the company dismantled, the bosses sold off as slave labour and the offices used for public toilets.

    1. Jordan Davenport

      This just shows the idiocy of non-standard payment systems.

      So I guess that just leaves cash and coinage?

      Credit/charge/debit/bank cards and checks/cheques, albeit commonly accepted, are by no means standard. Cards rely on whether the store accepts the card processor or not, and checks may rely on whether the banks in the region will process checks from another region, not to mention the risk the business takes of receiving a check from an account with insufficient funds.

      At least in the US, the only "standard" payment system is what's defined by the government - coins by the US Mint per the Constitution and paper currency by Bureau of Engraving and Printing per the Department of Treasury.

      1. graeme leggett

        "Credit/charge/debit/bank cards and checks/cheques, albeit commonly accepted, are by no means standard"

        They are standardized. Just not always accepted.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple Pay flop

    A quick look at Apple's website explaining the service highlights just 34 retail partners that support the system. Eight of those are different flavors of Foot Locker. One is Apple itself.


    1. Mike Bell

      Re: Apple Pay flop

      Maybe you haven't been keeping up with current events, but anywhere that supports NFC supports Apple Pay. And within the next year, US merchants will be obliged to provide secure equipment on pain of fraud liability.

      You really want this page to show every last one?

    2. Richard Conto

      Re: Apple Pay flop

      A regional grocery, Hillers, is claiming to work with Apple Pay (and Google Wallet and Softcard), but they don't show up on Apple's participating retailers list. I have no way to test this.

  9. Mike Bell

    Note to El Reg

    This one's going to run and run. Popcorn at the ready.

    If a cabal of US vendors want to cripple NFC (which covers both Apple Pay and Google Wallet) in favour of their own maverick payment system (CurrentC) they might want to think seriously about how users are expected to use it. Answer: Apple and Android phones!

    It wouldn't surprise me at all if such apps were blocked from respective App Stores before long.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Note to El Reg

      In which case, they'd rather have no NFC payments AT ALL. Walmart's steadfastly refused to add it, and many places have DROPPED support even before Apple Pay was added.

  10. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Marketing department snorting too much coke again

    Club Credit Card?

    - No

    Want to sign up for a Club Credit Card?

    - No

    You'll save 5% on your purchase today and up to %10 on selected days...

    - No

    Customer Savings number?

    - No

    Want to sign up for Customer Savings? You'll save up to...

    - NO

    Would you like to download our NFC app? I just takes a few minutes.

    - NO

    Just go to our web site and follow the links...

    - What is wrong with you?

    Credit card?

    - Yes, here

    Phone number?

    - That's illegal. case we need to contact you about your purchase.

    - Nevermind, bye.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Marketing department snorting too much coke again

      Actually that's the story with Barnes & Noble around here. I attempted to buy $100+ worth of books and the cashier just seriously would not let the membership card thing go.

      I had to call a manager and explain to her why I was leaving my sack of books and going home and buying them from Amazon.

      The funny part is I'd be fine to part with my marketing info for the discount from the card, but I'll be damned if I'm paying $25 for the card.

  11. Gene Cash Silver badge

    The biggest surprise of the story

    is that Rite-Aid is still in business!

    And I agree with James O'Shea, it's no issue to go right across the street to Walgreen's or Publix.

    As a matter of fact, my Walgreen's has an electronic arrangement with most of my doctors where they accept prescriptions electronically, and it's ready to pick up by the time I do cross the street. Apparently Walgreen's has actually joined the 21st century, unlike most of their competitors.

  12. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Sign of the times, I guess

    Here in the States, it seems that more and more places are going proprietary on non-cash/check purchases. Some only take a CC they are affiliated (smells like a kickback) with. Other's only take their debit card. Now the pay by bonk is going proprietary. I'm sure there's fees etc. plus the forced customer loyalty involved. Time and time again, the systems are insecure, pricey, or just a way of giving you ads. And I'll be damned if I'm going to send the store a text or run their app so I can more ads for stuff I don't want.

    Then again, I'm somewhat of a Luddite about this. I don't normally use CC, debit, paypal, pay by bonk. I use cash or a check. I use CC for online purchases only. I want your product and don't want to jump through hoops and put up with marketing BS.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They want customer data

    Apple Pay doesn't give it to them, but why do I have a feeling the vendor supported CurrentC does...

    Not sure what info Google Wallet passes, but one assumes Google is rather more concerned with keeping track of what you buy and when for their own purposes than giving away any info to the retailer, which would account for why they were blocked as well.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    CurrentC (CMX)

    Biggest problems (besides being late to the game) for CMX ("CurrentC") are:

    -- they are trying to keep track of users buying patterns and data, storing this information in one place, a "cloud vault" of all things. One stop shopping for crackers plus the customer is persecuted by ads 24x7;

    -- they are trying to save merchant's some cash by refusing (except in limited cases) to use credit cards, instead direct linking to checking accounts and/or debit cards. In America, this means there either is no fraud protection (checking account) or restricted fraud protection (debit cards, 3 day notification). Combined with saving all information in a "cloud vault" there are obvious problems, since American companies seem completely unable to keep customer data secret.

    CMX also strives to use the same terminals as card swipers (QR like readers from hand wands), which seems to somewhat reduce ease of use, I am not sure how they intend to exchange the value of the purchase for tokenizing. Without tokenizing, the whole scheme is not as useful as EMV, so there isn't any point for a customer (although the merchant saves by shifting fraud onto the customer, and telling the customer they'll get all those juicy free coupons from having purchases tracked everywhere).

    I favor Apple Pay, not perfect but so far a better combination of ease of use and security than the alternatives. Security must be at least decent on an iPhone since the American feds have gone hysterical on how the iPhone6 will destroy life as we know it due to encryption. They don't say anything about Androids...

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